Holding grudges may seem like a worthwhile exercise, but in reality it damages us more. There are research findings that show that both anger and holding grudges harm the person experiencing them. Revenge may or may not materialize, but you would have really harmed yourself in the process by then.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, can help you heal and recover and feel lighter in the process. It may feel wrong to ‘let the person go’, but essentially, forgiveness is not the same as victimhood or just accepting your circumstances without having a say. Forgiveness is a conscious decision. Therefore, it is implied that one must be ready for it, rather than rush into it.
To forgive, it is necessary to be angry at first. After that, one has to draw out and see the imperfections and woundedness of the person who hurt us and also to see how this cycle of hate is helping no one. This understands will not come immediately after you are hurt because it is natural human tendency to react and try to save yourself. However, over-stretching this is the problem.
If we keep hurting each other in response, we will be satisfying a very base human instinct. But if we are to have more meaningful relationships and to survive as a species, higher level emotional processing is a must. Think about it: at some point or the other, a lot of people in your life are going to hurt you. How many will you banish and how many will you fight?
Further, it is only one act of theirs that offends you, then why colour the whole person? It is better to give it time and space and then to let that episode of hurt go. Research suggests that couples who communicate and forgive have a much healthier relationship that those who don’t.
It is human to make mistakes and if we take each mistake to mean peril, we will have to abandon all our relationships! But this means that you forgive an abusive partner or person in your life? Definitely not. Self-respect is the first requirement for forgiveness, since it is an act made in full control of the person. So if you are in an abusive relationship, it is wise to move away. However, holding the hurt of that relationship is likely to become a roadblock in getting over the scars of that relationship. Therefore, from a distance, think of how damaged the abuser is, and how you are too far to care, and slowly let it go.
Forgiveness is about yourself, not anyone else. You do it as a favour to yourself. Further, forgiving means that acknowledging the person who hurt you has emotional shortcomings, and giving them a chance to change. If you carry the heavy burden of anger, grudges and hurt, instead of letting it go, it is you who gets hurt in the process. So do yourself a favour, and inculcate the forgiveness habit for better health, relationships and happiness.