“Forgiveness is a prerequisite for inner peace," says Dr. David Simon, co-founder of the Chopra Center, who adds, “Holding on to grievances, regrets and resentments is a certain recipe for perpetual suffering.”
This extended explanation from Doc Childre and Howard Martin from their book The HeartMath Solutions sheds further light:
The incoherence that results from holding on to resentments and unforgiving attitudes keeps you from being aligned with your true self. It can block you from your next level of quality life experience. Metaphorically, it’s the curtain standing between the room you’re living in now and a new room, much larger and full of beautiful objects. The act of forgiveness removes the curtain. Clearing up your old accounts can free up so much energy that you jump right into a whole new house. Forgiving releases you from the punishment of a self-made prison where you are both the inmate and the jailer.
Forgiveness is a strength which, while giving comfort or solace to others, has significant recompense for the giver. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
And, as we wrote in our previous post, forgiveness is a gift that is a gift greater to one's own self than to the person you forgive.
Forgiveness is also a loving act as well as an act of love. What’s the difference? A loving act is a charitable one. This is how most people view forgiveness, as an act of charity that is given to another. But in reality forgiveness is a true act of love, the return from which flows more greatly to the giver than to the given, especially when the act eliminates or reduces the feelings of bitterness, resentment, hatred, or disdain in the giver.
William Arthur Ward, the author of Fountains of Faith, had many things to say about love and forgiveness, two of which were:
Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear, only love can do that. Hatred paralyses life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.
Does forgiveness mean simply forgetting the wrongs done to you by others? Not at all. But it does mean not letting the wrongs jeopardize the relationship that you have with another, especially if this relationship is significant or meaningful to you.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who deeply understood the importance of tolerance and forgiveness on the larger, social scale, had this to say, “Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.”
Practice the art of forgiving and you will find a higher level of inner peace and happiness.