Health & Wellness

Guest Column

When Should I Forgive?

Maria Sikoutris Di Iorio, Hellenic Therapy Center

Forgiveness is a conscious decision to let go of feelings of anger and resentment toward a person who has committed a wrong. It can bring a sense of peace and relief from negative feelings once we are able to let go. 

Forgiveness does not mean that one has forgotten or excused an offense nor does it mean that we reconcile with the offender. Sometimes, reconciliation with the offender may be potentially harmful especially in cases of unhealthy relationships such as abuse. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves so that we can heal from the pain. Forgiveness is for you not for anyone else.

Oftentimes we have expectations of other people. Once others disappoint us and let us down, we are extremely hurt, discouraged and experience pain. Give up expecting things from other people.  We have no control with how others behave or how they choose to conduct their lives. Many times we will have “expectations” of others for our own purpose. If the other person changes, we can then get our own needs met.  Instead of looking to the other for change, look to Self. Look for another way to get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt you.

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Holding onto feelings of anger or other negative emotions can lead to a decrease in emotional, mental and physical well-being. When one has difficulty forgiving, issues such as anxiety, depression and stress may result and these conditions may cause high blood pressure, pain and fatigue as well as overall unhappiness.

Counseling that promotes forgiveness has been shown to have a positive impact on a person’s ability to achieve forgiveness as well as treat stress, depression, anxiety that are related to the wrong-doing. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthy relationships as well as improved physical health.  Forgiveness is about personal power and reclaiming that power. By holding on to a grudge, you are giving your offender more power over you. Instead, keep a daily gratitude journal and record all the things you are most grateful for rather than focusing on the harm. Put your energy into looking for other ways to get your needs met… a life well lived is your best revenge.

The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, has a team of licensed professionals who can help navigate you through this very painful process. They are available day, evening and weekend hours.  Visit Facebook or  or call 908-322-0112.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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