Do you consider yourself a forgiving person? We have all experienced that person who rubs us the wrong way or a situation that make us angry. When these things happen, do you tend to hold a grudge, or do you easily forgive?
Using the character strength of forgiveness, we let go of negative feelings, past hurts, and grudges. We favor instead accepting others’ shortcomings, making amends and giving people second chances. In her book The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want, Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote that when we forgive, we replace desires to avoid the person or get revenge with more positive feelings and behaviors.
In the past, I’ve been slow to forgive and the grudges I’ve held have festered into bitterness, anger, or detachment from the people I was begrudging. Now, I’m practicing letting go of those grudges and have been forgiving people much more quickly. For me, it’s not as easy as waving the magic wand and saying “I forgive you.” When it was difficult, I found forgiveness with the help of the following exercises:
Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote that our ability to forgive positively impacts our health and happiness; forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, not for the other person. If you’re stuck in a grudge, give one of these a try to see if you can find a way to forgive and leave the heavy burden of the grudge behind.