Why Should You Forgive?

Why Should You Forgive?

When I teach private Yoga sessions, sometimes, I become aware that a client has issues that cause anxiety, depression, and a negative outlook on life. This often causes difficulty for the student when trying to practice a stage-by-stage relaxation, and especially during meditation sessions.
When I mention letting go of a situation and forgiving others, very often I hear, “What’s in it for me?” or “Why should I?” To be quite frank, you should sincerely forgive for your own health. The purpose is to let go of a heavy burden, that you have placed upon yourself. This is a form of self-imprisonment, where you become bitter and this problem has established control over your life.
Releasing a grudge is like a prisoner having a sentence overturned, but it is much easier for you, since you are your own prison keeper. This is, in fact, an internal conflict and you can take control at anytime you wish.
Yoga, meditation, and relaxation sessions, are therapeutic practices, similar to a life preserver for the mind and body. On the other hand, holding a grudge causes negative energy and a multitude of physical and mental ailments. So, why not just let go of this self-imposed burden? Forgiveness is a way of refusing to carry extra problems around.
Some people like to carry around a “badge of courage” wherever they go. The badge of courage becomes their self-image and the whole world around them can see it “written all over their faces.” We all know somebody who walks around, day after day, with a scowl on his or her face. This person may have forgotten who hurt them in the first place. Each conflicting situation compounds, upon the last, to create a life of misery and poor health.
Now, I am not asking you to forgive or apologize, if you don’t mean it, but do you see any common ground, between yourself and the other party? Do you think there might be room to negotiate or, at least, talk? Do you see the other viewpoint? Would you be willing to listen?
Starting any negotiations allows both parties to hear each other out peacefully. This should be a common agreement before you meet. This requires that you listen to grievances, “on the other side of the fence,” completely. You will have to listen with empathy. This is a skill very few people have mastered.
Then you present your side of the issue, without malice. Very often, a perceived “big problem” is diffused when both parties realize a small misunderstanding created the two opposing viewpoints. It takes courage to sincerely give an apology and it takes courage to sincerely accept one. How you handle conflict and forgiveness is a true measure of your character.