Why Not Forgive?

— Written By learn to forgive

All of us have been “done wrong” by someone, and we blame them for hurting us and causing us harm! Someone at school could have treated you badly, a relationship with a friend turned sour, you and your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up, or perhaps your life changed drastically because your parents divorced. These situations and many more can cause you to feel hurt. It feels good to think that you are right and the person that has done you harm is wrong. You are innocent and they are guilty. That is a short term fix, but in the long run, it can lead to unhealthy anger and hurt which can last a long time.

A wonderful way to eliminate feelings of hurt and anger is to forgive the person that caused you harm. Good things can come to you by forgiving others. According to Psychology Today, forgiving can reduce unhealthy anger. There are many reasons to forgive someone and below is a reprinted list from Life Skills ARISE Curriculum that you may find helpful.

To get things you want in life.

We all want love, safety, affection, attention, and encouragement. We also want to be happy and succeed in school, work, and relationships. It will be difficult for you to get these things if you are carrying around anger, hatred, or resentment. 

To heal any damage. 

Forgiveness is the only way to heal your wounds. Even if the people who harmed you were thrown in jail, you would still feel pain unless you had forgiven them. Hatred hurts. The only way to fix it is to forgive. 

To stop wasting energy.

It takes plenty of effort to keep hating and resenting people. It’s smarter to put excess energy into friendships, work, sports, play, reading, planning vacations, or hundreds of other fun activities. 

To live in the present, not the past.

You can not enjoy life if you live in the past, reliving old hurts and trying to convince everybody, including yourself, that you were right. You can not learn, grow, or be happy until you let go of the past. Enjoy the present and stride into the future. 

To stay healthy.

Holding a grudge is stressful, and stress contributes to high blood pressure, heart trouble, cancer, and even suicide.

To grow. 

You will become a better person once you have the courage to forgive. When you forgive, you are doing the right thing and you will respect yourself and earn respect from others. 

To live a more positive life.

You become whatever you think about most of the time. If you think about failure, success, sickness, health, sadness, or happiness, you will become these things. If you fill your mind with negative thoughts, your life will be negative. 

To build self-esteem.

You will feel better and enjoy life more when you have high self-esteem. Self-esteem begins with forgiveness. The more you forgive, the better you will feel about yourself. When you have positive thoughts about yourself, it is easier to have positive thoughts about others, and vice versa. 

 To be close to people.

It is difficult to love when you can not forgive. When you are mad, you often do not want anyone around. This can keep you from making new friends and being close to people. Lasting relationships can not survive in this type of environment. You must learn to accept situations as they are, forgive, and love again so you can enjoy your life and the people in it. 

Life is much too short to carry around anger and hurt. So today, I challenge you to find it within yourself to forgive those who have wronged you in the past so that you can have a more positive and fulfilling present and future! Keep your chin up and keep moving toward your goals!

Helpful links:

8 Reasons to Forgive

Eight Keys to Forgiveness

Be sure to check out online learning opportunities offered by N.C. Cooperative Extension in Currituck County by visiting our website

For more information or questions regarding any Currituck County 4-H activities please contact Billy Caudle at (252) 232-2262 or by email at billy_caudle@ncsu.edu.