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How to Forgive and Rid yourself of grudges

Updated on April 2, 2012

Learning how to forgive is a must in your journey to inner peace. But, "forgiving is so hard!" you may say. And yes, I agree with you. Sometimes forgiving is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do in your life. But consider this:

Will not forgiving make a positive difference in your life?

Are you helping or making a difference in someone else's life (even your own) by not forgiving?

Are you willing to deal with the mental, emotional and sometimes physical stress that comes from holding a grudge?

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, by all means, don't forgive. But my guess is that you answered with a big, loud NO. The truth is that holding grudges is not healthy for anyone. And the only way to kill a grudge is with the powerful sword of forgiveness.

Understand what forgiveness means

Have you heard the saying "forgive and forget"? Well, that very well describes what forgiving is. Forgiving is forgetting. What does this mean? It means that, once you forgive, you will never, ever again bring the subject to topic. It means that you will stop blaming the person for whatever damages that were committed; it means that it never happened. Difficult? You bet! Impossible? Not at all...

Be honest with yourself

If you are reluctant to forgive someone it may be because you never make mistakes, and you will never need anyone to forgive you, right?? WRONG! Be honest with yourself, and think of all those times in which you desperately needed someone to forgive you for something stupid you did or said. Did it feel good when that person finally let you off the hook?

Now it's your turn to pay it forward. Forgive someone and return the favor that was made for you when someone else forgave YOU.

How bad was it?

Sometimes we like to think we are the center of the universe, and start believing that any small, tiny thing done against us is the end of the world (or the end of a friendship). Here is where forgiveness plays a role. How bad was the offense? Was the offense worth your friendship (or marriage or any kind of relationship)?

Most of the time the offenses committed against us are nothing but the result of imperfection. What I mean is that most of the time they are not that bad (i.e. someone said something bad about you, someone talked about you behind your back, your sister borrowed your dress without telling, etc...You get the point). But in our egocentric world, we blow it out of proportion. Again, be honest with yourself and put the "sin" in the balance.

What if the offense was really bad?

Forgiving may seem impossible if the offense left you scarred for life. And it is totally understandable that you have a feeling of uneasiness , and sometimes even vengeance. But, remember that not forgiving is not only causing damage to the forgivee, but also to the forgiver.

If the person doesn't deserve your forgiveness, learn to forgive for your own benefit. Living with a grudge never did anybody any good. Remember that you are not forgiving the person, per se, but rather you are forgiving to rid yourself of another enemy: grudge.

Learning how to forgive may take time to master, but it is well worth the effort.

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