Forgiving yourself and others helps you fight the anxiety that plagues you

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December 26, 2020

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We often advise knowing how to forget and forgive. And if this advice seems trivial, it is nevertheless sometimes complex to implement, because forgiving requires accepting an injury made to our ego and, far from being a proof of weakness, rather testifies to a mental strength. Beyond just forgiving someone, having a lenient personality can have a real impact on your health.

Remember to forgive

While this seems particularly difficult, it is still possible to forgive. You do not agree ? You can see this surprising example : Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor, has publicly forgiven the Nazis, explaining that her forgiveness “had nothing to do with religion or with the perpetrators, it is my way of healing myself, of freeing myself and to emancipate myself ”. She adds that she doesn’t understand why people think forgiveness is a bad thing.

It is therefore only a question of point of view, but forgiveness, in absolute terms, is not impossible. It is also sometimes a question of letting the time pass, in order to be able to take a better perspective on the situation and to better understand what advantages one can derive from the fact of forgiving.

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Forgiveness as a means of healing

The idea evoked by Eva Kor of self-care is not trivial: a published study in 2014 in the journal Health Psychology shows that being able to forgive yourself your mistakes and forgive others allows you to to protect yourself against stress.

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Forgiveness would be a kind of shield, both mental and physical, which allows you to face your environment more calmly. And, on the other hand, not forgiving locks us into rather intense stress and therefore negatively impacts our mental and physical health.

Loren Toussaint, associate professor in the psychology department at Luther College in Iowa in the United States, also explains that forgiveness can be learned. Indeed, if you do not feel ready to forgive, know that with training and reflection, it will be easier for you to excuse your mistakes as well as those of others.

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How do you manage to forgive?

Karen Swartz, Director of the Adult Mood Disorders Medical Department at Johns Hopkins Hospital, offers some tips and tricks on how to be able to forgive more easily:

Meditate about the events that hurt you, and understand the anger and pain that comes with those events. The goal is to accept these feelings and open your eyes wide to the impact it may have had on you.

Have empathy for people who have harmed you. You have to learn not to demonize the person who hurt you, even if it is an ex-boyfriend who has hurt you. It is absolutely not a question of justifying his behavior, but of simply trying to put things in context. But we must not wait anything from the people who hurt you: you don’t need their apologies to get better.

Totally forgive. Yes, it is difficult, but forgiving someone, even if they have never apologized to you, is essential. Forgiving allows you to move on. It also involves forgive oneself. You may feel you have some responsibility for the event that hurt you, and even if you do, you need to know how to forgive yourself for mistakes. And you will feel much better afterwards.

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Are you the resentful type or do you forgive easily?

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