Forgiveness is a choice, albeit a difficult one at times. It’s easier when you start believing that its benefits are for you, not the other person.

Forgiveness is hard. When you feel that someone has wronged you, it’s not easy finding a way forward. I learned from a very young age that forgiveness is a choice. But what I didn’t question until later in life is who is it really for?

Is the ability to forgive someone to give them peace of mind? Or is it to allow us a personal growth opportunity? If I had to choose one, I fully believe forgiveness is not always for the person you’re giving it to.

Use Forgiveness as a Lesson

When I was little, a girl bit me on the arm. I’ll never forget it. But more importantly, I’ll never forget that she flat-out refused to apologize for it, even after her mom told her to. And I’ll also never forget that later that day, after we’d had our naps and took a time-out, I gave her a taste of her own medicine.

I’m sure she hasn’t forgotten this little incident, either. When someone does something hurtful to us (physically or otherwise), we don’t always forget the way that person made us feel. But that’s not what forgiveness is. 

Rather, I look at forgiveness as lessons. These are my opportunities to better my world and understand more about the people around me. 

Growing up, forgiveness came so easy to me that oftentimes I would forget the moments that warranted forgiveness. Others around me would remember and remind me of how someone had wronged me. But I became so good at letting things go that it just didn’t have the same impact on me.

I didn’t harbor feelings of anger, hate, or resentment. And that’s how I learned that forgiveness isn’t for the other person, but rather for us. Forgiveness is a choice because it allows us to free our minds and not be slaves to negativity. 

Step 1: Believe Forgiveness is a Choice

I’ll be the first to say that forgiveness in the moment doesn’t come easy to most people. Sometimes, you have to step away and think about what forgiveness means. It’s not accepting and condoning what someone has done to you. But at the end of the day, forgiveness sets you free. 

There’s so much going on in the world right now, things that we never be able to recoup. But we need forgiveness. The government needs it. The neighbor whose dog kept you up all night needs it. The person who cut you off this morning needs it. You might not be ready to move forward. But to enjoy the beauty of life, it’s important to change your mindset and believe forgiveness is a choice. 

Forgiveness comes easier when you start realizing it’s a favor to yourself. 

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