Forgiving is not necessarily forgetting, but you can show compassion for those who caused you pain. By burying the hatchet, you can improve your health, boost self–esteem, and lessen depression as well as anxiety, while lowering stress, blood pressure, heart rate, and risk of alcohol or substance abuse.
Vengefulness, conversely, has health risks. You may bring bitterness and hostility into new relationships or struggle to make new meaningful relationships. Choosing to forgive is a personal decision and the process can be difficult. Psychologist Dan Shoultz says there are 5 steps:
- Recognize the true depth of an injury
- Grieve your losses
- Examine perceptions you have created about the world because of the injury
- Learn empathy skills
- Realize you can forgive and still maintain your integrity.