Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness

December 25, 2019 |Gideon Hanekom

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It’s Christmas and you’re not celebrating. Maybe you were cheated on, got divorced, got screwed over by your company, had something stolen, were let down or even betrayed. And for that reason, today sucks. Fair enough also. But, listen, regardless of what you went through this past year, I want to ask you to be open to another idea – one you might not like. What if, instead of holding onto that pain, you gave yourself the gift of forgiveness? How could that possibly change things for you? Here are 9 reasons why I think you need to consider this.

gift of forgiveness pin

Listen, I get it … when someone has wronged you, forgiveness may be the last thing on your mind.

You’re convinced they deserve all the anger you can muster.

You’re certain they deserve 100% of your hostility and some more.

Forgiveness is the LAST thing on your mind.

As I said, I get it.

But, I want you to consider a different perspective on forgiveness for a moment, today.

Forgiveness, in essence, is a gift you give to yourself.

Forgiveness is not really about the other person or parties, but YOU.

Ask yourself – “Is my anger actually harming or changing the other person?”

OR, “Does my anger change what has happened (is happening) in any way?”

In most cases, the other person just stays the same way and the past remains unchanged.

So, if you think about it, holding a grudge is like punching yourself in the face and expecting the other person to get hurt.

It’s silly and doesn’t make sense at all.

Or as life coach, Tony Robbins, says:

Forgiveness is understanding that the only person you hurt when you’re upset – no matter how justified it may be – is yourself. 

So, yes, forgiveness is a GIFT, but it’s a gift to yourself – not the perpetrator.

The gift of forgiveness is a gift of freedom to YOURSELF.

You’re opening the door of the prison you’ve created from the inside and allow healing, freedom, happiness and peace to flow in again.

Regardless of the other person or experiences.

Because when you resist and choose to stay imprisoned in your own mind, YOU end up being the only one paying the price.

So, with all that said, here are 9 reasons for giving yourself the gift of forgiveness today.

Note – what I’m suggesting isn’t easy but necessary. Nothing about this is easy but everything about it is necessary. 

The Gift of Forgiveness is a Healthy and Logical Choice For 9 Reasons:

Living in the past steals your present and taints your future.

A great future requires an attentive present.

But that’s not possible if you’re living or stuck in the past.

Life is happening right now at this moment.

And every moment spent in the past is lost forever.

So, reclaim your life today by forgiving and moving on.

Failing to forgive creates misery.

Creating and maintaining negative thoughts doesn’t feel good and is toxic to your heart, mind, and spirit.

Holding onto stuff WILL poison you slowly but surely.

By refusing to forgive the person that wronged you, you’re ONLY harming yourself.

Conversely, however, a healed heart will lead to a healed life.

Therefore, let go of misery by giving yourself the gift of forgiveness.

You’ll be stronger.

Forgiveness can be challenging, especially because staying angry is much easier in so many ways.

Or at least, it feels easier.

But, you need to show yourself just how strong you are.

Now is the time to do that.

Take a deep breath, forgive, let go, and start moving on.

It will become easier with time. 

Also, a funny thing happens when you become more forgiving … the more forgiving you are, the more others are willing to forgive you when the shoe’s on the other foot!

The past cannot be changed, but your attitude can.

What is the purpose of your anger?

I mean, think about it for a moment.

Apart from anger feeling “good” for a while, what is the point?

What does t get you in the end?

Really?

If you stay angry for the next ten years, what would have you accomplished?

Here’s a fact I want you to consider today …

Nothing you do today can change what happened yesterday.

NOTHING.

But you can give yourself the gift of forgiveness, allow it to change your attitude, and actually get on with life in a positive and healthy way.

At the end of the day, it’s your decision.

Sometimes, they’ll be back sooner or later.

Whether you forgive them or not, there are situations where they’re sure to pop back into your life in the future.

And in most cases, they’ll act as if nothing ever happened.

However, your own resentment will make you feel bad all over again if you’re the one still holding a grudge.

And in most cases, they won’t even be aware of it.

The sooner you forgive, the sooner you can put the matter to bed and move on with your life.

Just a note on that also – moving on doesn’t mean you allow people to keep treating you like crap. You need to put an end to that promptly, naturally.

All humans make mistakes.

We’ve all done or said things we later regretted.

That’s an important fact to remember when you’re wrapped in your cloak of justified anger.

But, you can’t expect to be forgiven if you’re unwilling to forgive.

And a time WILL come when you need forgiveness too.

So, stay humble and know that this thing of forgiveness goes ways.

Forgiveness may be the best form of revenge.

When someone betrayed you or broke your trust, the desire to strike back will be overwhelming.

That’s normal.

But, perhaps forgiveness is a better response.

What if you showed them you’re moving onto bigger and better things?

Sometimes, living a happy life is the best revenge!

Your health will improve.

Happiness and peacefulness undoubtedly support good health and longevity.

And the gift of forgiveness is therefore also a gift of a healthier life.

The Mayo Clinic states that letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind.

Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Improved mental health
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • A stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Improved self-esteem

Seems worth it to me.

This brings us to …

Forgiveness is fast.

Time may heal all wounds, but it can take a long time.

Forgiveness is instantaneous.

TRUE forgiveness is.

That moment when you finally exhale and let … it … all … go!

There’s no faster way to enhance your life and mood than the simple gift of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is fast, effective, and free.

It’s something you do for yourself because the alternative is harmful to your health, happiness, and future.

Why not be good to yourself?

This is NOT about letting the other person off the hook.

This is about you letting YOURSELF off the hook.

Forgiveness, therefore, is necessary.

Last thoughts …

Mahatma Gandhi said,

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”

Make no mistake, forgiveness requires real strength.

But the fastest way to heal any transgression against you is forgiveness.

Just remember that forgiveness doesn’t always mean that you give the other person a second chance.

I need to point that out.

It does mean, however, that you’re not willing to suffer any longer.

Have a beautiful Christmas, my Friend!

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as Marriage.com and The Good Men Project.

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