Live to forgive

The age-old adage ‘to err is human and forgive is divine’ is not as simple (to follow) as it sounds. Especially forgiveness, for it requires a sustained effort and commitment on the part of the person from whom forgiveness is sought. It’s not easy to ask for forgiveness either.  Everybody at some point in their lives get into situations where they need to grant or ask for forgiveness.  

How should one function when in the wrong? Confession is the first step towards forgiveness. One must admit the wrong doing. This must be followed by a sincere apology. The key point here is to understand the pain of the person one is asking forgiveness from. An apology by itself is not powerful enough. One needs to empathise with emotional experience of the person after the confession. Relationship is more valuable than one’s inflated ego. One must strive to wade above the ego and try to compensate for the wrongdoing. Restating with conviction that the same would never be repeated should be emphasised. Asking explicitly for forgiveness reflects one’s genuine remorse and intent to change.

It can be equally daunting for the person to forgive. Not only can he/she not empathize with the transgressor, it’s almost impossible sometimes to feel sorry for the person who inflicted pain or harm. Journaling the positives of the relationship and of the partner involved can dilute the intensity of pain. Emotional replacement can come in handy.  Replacing some negative emotions with positive ones can facilitate the process of forgiving. One can always change the magnitude of the mistake by taking control of the situation. What’s done cannot be undone but forgiving is something which is well within the realms of one’s control. Last but not the least one can always visualize a hypothetical situation and see if one can live without the person at fault or can one accept him/her despite the fault and forgive?

Its always easy to dwell on people’s faults and hold on to grudges. But it has been proved that forgiveness reduces distress and increases life satisfaction which in turn leads to higher levels of happiness. Forgiveness is not always about others but also about self-forgiveness. Our sense of self is defined through our relationship with others. Hence the need to forgive others as well as our own self. Live to give – forgiveness for happiness.