Holding a grudge, not being able to let go of resentment, and harboring bitterness generally hurts one person…YOU! It may be safe to say each and every person has experienced their feelings hurt by another persons’ words or actions. When that someone is a close and trusted friend or family member, the hurt is exacerbated. With each experience we learn. When forgiveness is not practiced, you might be the only one in anguish. Forgiveness can be intimidating but also a gateway to personal freedom.

Generally forgiveness is deciding to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Although another’s actions or words may always be a part of your life, forgiveness can lessen your anxiety. Letting go of resentment will provide clarity and you can focus on more positive solutions to the problem. Forgiving someone can be and is one of the hardest decisions one can make. Because you forgive someone does not exempt the person from his/her actions. It does not minimize or justify the wrong. It is the first step in enabling you to move on with your life.

The benefits of forgiveness offer you greater peace, compassion, and kindness. The positive affects of forgiveness:
· Less stress, anxiety, and hostility
· Healthier future relationships
· Decreased chances of depression
· Lower risk of substance and alcohol abuse
· A greater spiritual and psychological well-being
· Lower blood pressure

Being unforgiving is likely to reap havoc on future relationships. Bitterness and anger generally rolls into the next relationship by default. You may begin to notice all of your relationships begin to mirror one another. Have you ever asked yourself, why? Clearly each of us has struggled with forgiveness. Possibly you know the freedom of forgiveness because you have made a conscious decision to do so. Or, you may have never forgiven someone. Reaching deep and being the bigger person can and will be the hardest thing for you to do. Yet, you will begin to feel the weight lift from your shoulders one day at a time.

Reaching a state of forgiveness is a commitment and a process. As you consider forgiveness, look at what is important in your life. Look at the facts of your situation. How did you react? How is this currently affecting your life, health and well-being? When you choose to forgive the person(s) who hurt you, be mentally prepared. Relieve yourself from being the victim and release power and control. As you begin your journey of forgiveness, you will not longer define your life by how you have been hurt. Rather you may find compassion and understanding.

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Keeping a journal, seeking a professional, meditation, or prayer, are the first steps to moving toward the bigger goal. The healing will be a process. Enjoy the journey and learn from each and every step you make.

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