So often we hold on to a hurt or a grudge — we just can’t let go of the anger and resentment when we have been wronged. Sometimes this is a very old wound, one from our distant past. Sometimes it is a recent hurt that just keeps nagging at our heart with painful memories of a relationship that should have gone differently. Sometimes it is the very personality of someone who just rubs us the wrong way. At the holidays, all of these hurts seem to bubble to the surface. This is supposed to be a time of celebration, good cheer, charity, and hospitality, but for many it is a time that is simply unbearable because of the hurts that have not been mended.
But did you know that it really only takes one person to forgive?
You don’t even need the other person (or persons) to actively participate in the forgiveness to truly be released from the pain of the hurt. Forgiveness means “let go.” It is like when we are doing a tug-o-war with the other person and we just decide to let go! There has been a lot of research on the power of forgiveness and how it can even affect our health. Here are some benefits the Mayo clinic found related to forgiveness:
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Higher self-esteem
You can read the whole article here. It is a pretty great read! My hope is that you will give yourself the gift of forgiveness this Christmas. Lift the burden from your shoulders and seek to LET GO!