Does forgiving someone benefit you or the other person? One of the hardest parts of forgiveness is understanding how it will benefit you. It might feel empowering and good for a little while to hold a grudge over someone, but do you know what it does to your health?
Forgiving someone else benefits you and your health more than it does the other person! We all know that unresolved conflict affects our emotions, but it also affects us physically. Studies have shown that chronic anger can lead to changes in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as hindering your immune system. These changes can increase the risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes(among other conditions).
Florida State University did a study that showed a link between anger and heart health. They concluded that repeated anger outbursts often raise the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and disturbances in cardiac rhythm. Concordia University found that letting go of anger and resentment can help with anxiety and mental health. When talking about the study, they said that anger is causing serious health problems “for millions of individuals around the world who suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder.
Anger is more than an emotion; it’s an agent that exacerbates their illness.” Forgiveness is not easy! When someone betrays you or hurts you, it is very difficult to even consider how forgiveness might benefit you. Betrayal and hurt cause you to feel a loss of control. You want them to feel the same hurt that you felt. Forgiving them may feel like the pain that they inflicted is invalid. The first step to forgiveness is to feel the pain and acknowledge it. Pretending that it isn’t there and stuffing your pain will only create an environment where bitterness and resentment thrive.
Acknowledging the pain is important, but the second step is also very important – don’t become stuck in your pain and anger. Find someone who you trust who is willing to walk through the difficult journey with you. Our physical and emotional health are so intertwined that when one suffers, the other suffers as well. We might not understand how our emotional and physical health are connected, but that doesn’t invalidate the studies that have been done. Let’s find people that we trust and work our way toward living a life of forgiveness (no matter how long it takes).