Forgiveness is a universal spiritual virtue embraced by religions and spiritual traditions around the world. It is a powerful antidote to our natural predisposition toward revenge and avoidance.
Forgiving others and ourselves can improve our emotional and physical health, with positive effects on heart disease risk factors, cholesterol levels, pain, blood pressure, anxiety and depression. It also increases happiness and optimism and reduces stress and fatigue.
The benefits of forgiveness can be triggered by a number of different situations, but all are rooted in the idea that our negative emotions and reactions to the past need to come to an end. When you hold onto resentment or grudges, negative feelings build up in every cell of your body. These can include an upset stomach, heaviness in your chest, lower appetite, tightness in the throat and low energy.
It is possible to release these negative emotions, and with practice, you will begin to feel lighter and more energized, as the negative energies are slowly released.
There are many ways to practice forgiveness and it is possible for anyone to do so. For example, there is a method called ho'oponopono, which is an ancient Hawaiian practice that involves sitting in a meditative position and forgiving those who have wronged you.
The act of forgiving also helps to heal the victim’s wounds. For example, it has been shown that former enemies can more easily live as neighbors if they show remorse for the hurt they caused. And it can even be used as a way to bring peace to broken families and communities.