Forgive, for your own good

Last Updated 20 June 2014, 15:39 IST

Do we really understand what it means to forgive? If we do, do we ever truly and completely forgive? Mary Chelladurai attempts to help you master the art of forgiving

“Let the evening forgive the mistakes of the day and thus win peace for herself.”
                                    - Rabindranath Tagore

When we are angry, in a bitter conflict with the other, we lash out and hurt the wrongdoer or the offender. We fume with hatred, swearing, “I will never forgive!” or perhaps, we pretend to forgive instantly. Here’s the question: do we really understand what it means to forgive? If we do, do we ever truly and completely forgive?

Simply put, to forgive is to cease to be angry or resentful towards an offender.

“Forgive” sounds like such a simple and light word; if only it were that easy for us to forgive... More often than not, we tend to grow a grudge and bitterness towards the offender.

 Needless to say, these are negative emotions and are cancerous to our body and mind. They can trigger psychosomatic illness, and in some cases, lead to
addictions, which are simply attempts to anesthetise the pain.

But does that mean we let the offender off the hook? Not at all. It is imperative to hold an offender accountable for his/her actions, or lack of actions.

It’s just that we need to let go of the bitterness we carry towards them. Because there is a powerful connection between forgiving others and our own well-being. When we choose to forgive, truly, we feel good, and our health is restored. This boosts our immunity and gives us a positive frame of mind.

However, the time taken to forgive is closely associated with the relationship
we share with the wrongdoer. So, the closer the tie, the longer it takes us to
heal the hurt and forgive.

Even otherwise, forgiveness takes its own sweet time, for it is a process, not an event. Nursing that bruise, the offender inflicted on us, is no easy feat. And sometimes, forgiveness may not lead to reconciliation.

We may forgive someone, even if we can never get along with them ever again. Nevertheless, it is important to forgive, for our own peace
of mind.

Here are some pointers that can help you master the art of forgiving:
Don’t abuse the offenderA person may wrong you willfully, and may, perhaps, even deserve an abuse or two from you.

While it is natural to be harsh on them for a while, make sure you do not use any swear words or insult them. If you are too short-tempered, try and consider the
maturity level of the offender. While this might not be a solution, it might just help you to calm down a little.

Don’t be a pushover

To forgive does not mean you should allow yourself to feel victimised. While it isn’t healthy to react harshly on impulse, it is necessary to make it clear to the offender that you won’t tolerate such behaviour, and that s/he be really sorry about it. Also, once you have calmed down and are willing to talk it out, make it known that while you might be ready to forgive, you won’t stand any form of disrespect or repetitive abuse.

Don’t be too harsh

Some people may not really mean any offence, but land up hurting you,
nevertheless, and sometimes quite often.

Many a time, such people are those who probably had a rough childhood and,
therefore, tend to be a little rude.

Usually, such people do not realise they are being rude. When this is the case, it is your responsibility to let them know that you felt offended by their comment or behaviour. Once you do that, they are sure to feel sorry about it. Then, it will be your turn to forgive them.

Don’t forget; just forgive

Let’s face it: some people are simply mean-spirited, apathetic or even sadistic. Such people rarely ever feel sorry about their mistakes and don’t really deserve your
forgiveness. Yet, it is necessary to forgive, because, otherwise, the hatred will degrade your wellbeing.

While you may not be able to forgive quickly, do ensure, that you do so, with time. But make sure you don’t forget such people; you need to remember to steer clear of them.

(Published 20 June 2014, 15:39 IST)

Follow us on