The Role of Forgiveness in Recovery
According to psychologists, forgiveness is a conscious and deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you. This is all regardless of whether they deserve your forgiveness or not. Forgiveness is not forgetting or excusing the offenses. But, most importantly, it brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger which can lead to depression, anxiety, and other health problems.
One way to think about forgiveness is through an analogy. For example, you are holding onto the bumper of a car and it drags you across the pavement. This is very painful. But, if you let go, it can’t hurt you anymore. So, letting go is an important part of the forgiveness process. It is the main step to improving one’s life. Along with reducing pain, forgiveness has other benefits such as decreasing anxiety, stress, and hostility. Moreover, there is an increase in hope, self-esteem, and well-being. This can lead to improved relationships with family and friends and a greater sense of control and power.
Some people do not know how to forgive. Maybe they don’t want to admit they were taken advantage of. Or he or she might see forgiveness as a weakness. Sometimes a person’s ego gets in the way. Maybe the person doesn’t think the one who hurt them deserves forgiveness. Furthermore, if we are the ones asking for forgiveness we may not get the answer we want to hear. Someone might say, ” no I don’t forgive you!” Some people think whoever is more in the wrong should apologize first. These types of thoughts are not useful and will only hurt those involved. So, whether it is asking for forgiveness or offering it to someone, forgiveness is a great sign of strength. It is one of the keys to peace and happiness in recovery. Forgiveness is the greatest healer of all!