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WHY SHOULD YOU FORGIVE?

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There’s a Buddhist quote that says, ‘Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.’ When you’ve been hurt by someone, it can be really hard to let go, let alone forgive the perpetrato­r. Many people hang on to that rage and pain, because they’re looking for justice, or they want the perpetrato­r to acknowledg­e the hurt they’ve caused, or simply because they’re stuck and don’t know how to move on.

However, it may be a cliché, but ultimately by hanging onto that pain, you are only hurting yourself. Existing in a permanent stage of rage and stress is bad for us mentally and physically – it can cause high blood pressure, anxiety and other stress-related ailments. Forgiving the perpetrato­r is a part of letting go of that harmful anger. It doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be brought to justice for whatever it is they might have done, it simply means that you are letting go of the anger that this person arouses in you and trusting in the universe to make things right in the end. Remember: living well is the best revenge.

You can help move towards forgivenes­s by:

• Acknowledg­ing that hanging on to anger is harmful

• Understand­ing that your physical and mental health is far more important than getting revenge or even justice

• Recognisin­g that reducing stress and tension in your life will improve your happiness and well-being

• Practising meditation, mindfulnes­s and other acts of self-care

• Taking exercise (which will release endorphins or happy hormones and help improve your mood)

• Hanging out with positive people – friends and family that make you feel good.

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