Fairly often, we find ourselves concerned with the things that can damage us physically. We look both ways before we cross the street so that we don’t get hit by a car. We eat healthy food so that we don’t get heart disease or any other number of diseases that can result from a poor diet. We work out so that we can keep our bodies strong and healthy instead of weak and sickly. We try so hard to be physically healthy that sometimes we forget that intangible things can have just as big of an affect on our bodies as the tangible things can.

Holding on to negativity in any form can really damage you. It doesn’t matter if it’s anger, resentment, hatred, or negative feelings of self because negativity in any form is not good for you. There are even things out there that leave us with feelings of negativity that we may not even recognize or be aware of. For instance, did you know that not allowing for forgiveness to take place can have a negative toll on your body?

When somebody lies to you, cheats on you, deceives you, or hurts you any way it usually doesn’t leave you with good feelings about that individual who has harmed you. After someone hurts you, you become angry with them, especially if this person who has done you wrong is a loved one. You would never expect this person to make you feel bad, and yet they have done just that. Your initial response may be to harm them in the same way that they harmed you. Or perhaps you may just decide to cut that person out from your life altogether. You may even choose not to forgive that person.

Choosing not to forgive someone after they have hurt you may feel like a good way for you to deal with the situation, but the reality of the matter is that when you choose not to forgive someone who has done something to harm you, you will never truly be able to move on from that situation. Remember last week’s post about letting go of loads that cause you pain? Well, forgiveness can help you to let go of the hurt that you have in your heart from that person who has done you wrong…

When I was in the fifth grade I told a secret to one of my friends. It wasn’t a very big secret, but the one thing I did ask of my friend that I told this secret to was that she didn’t reveal my secret to another one of my friends that I had at the time. A few days later, my friend told my secret to the very friend that I had asked her to keep the secret from. I was furious to say the least. I stopped talking to her because I was so angry that she had told my secret. And of course, it follows that since I stopped talking to her, we eventually stopped being friends. At the end of that school year, my former friend moved away and I still had chosen not to forgive her. Even though months had passed since she had revealed my secret, I still walked around holding on to that anger that I had towards her. I just couldn’t let it go. That is, I couldn’t let it go until after I had a talk with another one of my friends. This other friend knew that I was no longer friends with the girl who had told my secret, and she also helped me to see that holding on to that anger was hurting nobody but me. My former friend had moved on (literally) and was probably going to start a new life at a different school and think nothing more about our falling out. My friend told me that I shouldn’t allow myself to be angry anymore if my former friend wasn’t even going to be affected anymore by the loss of our friendship. It was in that moment that I made the decision to forgive my old friend. My friend that I had the talk with was right. Holding on to that anger wasn’t harming anyone but me, but forgiving my old friend would allow for me to move on with my life too. It may have taken months for me to forgive the girl who shared my secret without my permission, but the moment that I did it, I felt loads better.

The thing is everyone will do something to hurt another person at some point in their life. It may not be intentional or pre-meditated, but it does happen. And if you were the one who was seeking out forgiveness for a wrongful act that you had enacted then you would probably want that person to forgive you. So why not give somebody else that same courtesy?

Forgiveness may not come right a way. It may take days, weeks, months, or even years, but when you finally hit the point of not wanting to hold on to that anger, just realize that forgiveness can help you to get rid of it.

You don’t have to forgive someone for their benefit positive thinker; you can choose to do it for yourself.

And remember, “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.”