“Blasting another person with anger is like throwing hot coals with bare hands; Both people get burned.” Buddha.
Hatred is a state that you can stay in without much effort. On the other hand, forgiveness is a process that requires self-discovery, reflection and accountability. Hatred is easy to come by and yet is incredibly powerful. It pollutes your spirit, poisons your soul and invades otherwise healthy relationships. Letting go of hatred and embracing forgiveness can have powerful health benefits. Over the last thirty years, a host of studies emerged within the mental health field showing that the act of forgiveness is beneficial to the one who forgives. Baskin & Enright, 2004; Wade et al., 2014. To forgive is to exercise goodness towards those who are not good to you. The act of forgiveness is a deliberate decision to let go of feelings of anger or resentment toward someone who harmed you, regardless of whether they deserve your forgiveness. It’s perhaps one of the most heroic of all acts. Mary Johnson knows something about forgiveness; she hugged the man that murdered her son. It was only when Mary could forgive her son’s killer that she was able to let go of all the hatred, bitterness and anger that ate away at her soul every day. Her act of forgiveness freed her from an emotional prison, Mary to start living again free of suffering and honor her son’s life in a positive and productive way. Forgiveness can lead to healthier relationships, improved mental health, lower anxiety, stress and hostility, and improved self-esteem. The act of forgiveness is a process. First, you must recognize the value of forgiveness, then identify who needs to be forgiven and for what. Acknowledge how you feel about having been wronged and then choose to forgive the person that has harmed you. When you forgive, you are no longer the victim in the story, but the hero.