Fighting. Frustration. And the fear of losing a relationship. These are all symptoms indicating the need for forgiveness. Whether you’ve encountered a disagreement with a roommate or feel betrayed by a family member or friend, these moments hurt. It’s easy to walk away and let these feelings fester, building up negative energy that fills your body and spirit.
But finding a way to forgive will benefit both your physical and spiritual wellness. According to John Hopkins: “Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age” (Your Health Depends on It).
Forgiveness will also benefit your spiritual health. Reduced stress enhances your inner peace and allows you to tune in to your intuition with greater clarity. Forgiveness will strengthen your relationships—and your soul craves this outward connection. Finding kindness in your heart to forgive others invites greater love from your higher power.
There are ample benefits to simply forgiving. And yet, it often seems complicated. Here are three simple tips to help you forgive and find deeper love and peace in your life.
Accept What Happened
The first step to forgiveness is acceptance. Feelings of frustration and anger wear down your soul when you hold on to the hurt. Psychology Today shares this beautiful insight about forgiveness: “By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it. This can be a gradual process—and it doesn’t necessarily have to include the person you are forgiving. Forgiveness isn’t something you do for the person who wronged you; it’s something you do for you.”
So take a moment to breathe in. And breathe out. Dig deep and remember the love and respect you have for yourself. Relinquish the negative energy that has been trapped by holding onto this grudge. Choose to carry on instead of constantly looking back on this painful moment. Accept that it happened and take one step of faith and love forward.
Address Your Inner Pain
To truly forgive someone, you’ll need to look inside yourself. Whatever harmful thing happened caused some damage—and it’s vital to address your inner pain. Evaluate what emotions keep creeping up. Is there jealousy? Disappointment? Recurring anger?
Work through these emotions. This may take reaching out to a counselor or close friend. It may mean writing out every thought and feeling in a journal. This might look like a scream session alone in your car. Do what is best for you and address the pain. Now is the perfect time to check out Skylight’s app. Spiritual exercises like this one guide you through navigating these hard feelings.
Skylight has an exercise for every mood. Take the time to dig deep and determine the cause of your pain.
The last (and most important!) tip to attain forgiveness is to develop the skill of empathy. Recognize that whatever action hurt you likely came from a place of pain from the other individual. People are naturally good. Everyone has an inner light, just like you. They may just be struggling and seeking their own peace and confidence as well.
New York Times talks about an empathy deficit that our society is facing—“and it’s at the root of many of our biggest problems.” Empathy is trying to understand the other person’s perspective. It is offering grace and kindness and love instead of judgment and contention. “[Empathy] happens when two parts of the brain work together, neuroscientists say—the emotional center perceives the feelings of others and the cognitive center tries to understand why they feel that way and how we can be helpful to them.”
Empathy takes effort and is an invaluable skill worth learning. As you work on empathy, you’ll discover the power within you to forgive. So train your brain. Try to see others through a spiritual lens and offer forgiveness openly. Your body and soul will thank you.