April 2 is National Reconciliation Day—originated to celebrate the bonds between black and white South Africans. In 1992 Ann Landers declared it national reconciliation day in the U.S., via the Chicago Tribune. To honor this day, remind you of the power of forgiveness. As Mahatma Ghandi famously said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” So let’s be strong together!
Forgiveness does not imply that you condone your husband’s cheating, or your coworker’s backstabbing. It simply means you decide to put the act behind you and move on. It allows you to feel empathy for the other person and feel better about yourself. According to the Mayo Clinic some of the health benefits of forgiveness are healthier relationships, peace of mind, lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, a better mood overall and a lowered risk of being an alcoholic.
Here are 10 more reasons why forgiveness is good for you.
1. Letting go of bitterness leads the way toward peace. When you let go of bitterness, you set the tone for your relationships with others. You become more open to taking people at face value, without hidden agendas.
Read Related: Why You Should Forgive But Not Forget
2. Letting go of anger relieves stress and lowers your blood pressure. Angry thoughts lead to constricted blood vessels which in turn raise your blood pressure. When you let go of anger, the reverse happens. It’s cheaper and safer than meds!
3. You will no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. By not taking on the role of victim you feel empowered to do anything and everything you want to do. You’ve just given yourself permission to stop labeling yourself as the victim of those who wronged you. How cool is that?
4. Forgiving others makes it easier to forgive yourself. We’re often harsher on ourselves than on others! But if you are willing to harness the power of forgiveness and cut your friends and family some slack, you’ll find it easier to realize that it’s ok to make mistakes! We all do!
5. Forgiveness leads to spiritual well-being. When you let go of grudges you feel more connected to your inner compass, and your heart feels lighter. When you are at peace with yourself and others, you are ahead of the spiritual game.
6. Forgiveness frees you from the weight of painful experiences. When you forgive, you are letting go of a painful experience, commonly known as baggage. You will feel renewed.
7. Forgiveness allows you to enjoy the present rather than living in the past. Allowing yourself to forgive helps you stop ruminating about the past and suffering for it. You can be present here and now and enjoy it.
8. Forgiveness allows you to take back your power. There is a saying in 12-step groups: When you bear grudges, you are letting the other person live rent-free in your head. By forgiving, you are letting him or her go and reclaiming your own power. Nothing and nobody can hurt you over time if you don’t allow them to.
9. Forgiveness leads to closer, more fulfilling relationships. By forgiving someone for a bad turn, you’re opening up to the possibility of better relationships. When you don’t shield yourself constantly, you are able to be the best possible you. Forgive your ex spouse and you are sure to find a new, better one!
10. Forgiveness lowers your risk for heart disease. Forgiveness breeds a calm state of mind and body, it reduces anger and stress. It will only make your heart stronger.