Saturday 7th July was not just an exciting day for English football it was also Global Forgiveness Day – a day to forgive and be forgiven, a chance to set things right, put aside old differences, move beyond grievances and hurts and start afresh.
I love the idea of Global Forgiveness Day because it serves to remind us that letting go of a grudge or bitterness makes way for improved heath and peace of mind. We have all been hurt in some way by others. When we have lasting feelings of anger, resentment and even revenge you could be the one who suffers the most. In choosing not to forgive we can get stuck in our own past and may people waste years in bitterness and resentment. But embracing forgiveness can lead to inner peace, closure and ultimately physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
There are so many positive benefits to be gained by forgiveness - happier and healthier relationships, improved mental health and fewer symptoms of depression, less anxiety and stress, improved self-esteem, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system and health. Forgiveness helps us to grow and heal.
By holding a grudge you can be so wrapped up in your own head with the hurt or offence you don’t enjoy the present, you can feel depressed and disconnected from other people or life.
And yet forgiveness can be easy once you recognise how it can change and improve your life. By choosing to forgive the hurt or offence you step away from being the victim and thereby lessen the power and control it had over your life. You will find how your life is no longer defined by the hurt or offence. As a victim you carry a heavy burden and forgiveness allows you to put the burden down and walk away – free.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that to forgive is to forget. Not at all. But forgiveness is a choice you can give yourself. It can be empowering.