5 Reasons Why You Should Ask for Forgiveness
Whatever the transgression, here are some psychological and biological benefits of atonement.
This month, I published my second novel SWEET FORGIVENESS. The novel centers on TV talk show host Hannah Farr who must seek atonement when a childhood bully reaches out to her asking for forgiveness for the pain she caused her and for Hannah to pass on the act of forgiveness by reaching out to someone she wronged. As part of the discussion surrounding the book, I wanted to look at reasons why one should ask for forgiveness.
1) It Takes Courage to Accept Responsibility
As Fiona Knowles, the teenage bully turned self-help guru in SWEET FORGIVENESS says, “It takes courage to claim our shame. Most of us aren’t comfortable demonstrating vulnerability. Instead, we stuff our guilt inside, hoping no one will ever see what’s hidden within. Releasing our shame frees us.”
2) Focusing on Your Behavior Sometimes Addresses a Larger, Previously Unknown Problem
Many times when you hurt someone, there is a deeper root for your behavior. By taking a step back from the situation and examining your behavior and perhaps recognizing other times in which you behaved similarly, you might begin to see a pattern and, thus, the root. Once you’re able to identify that problem, you’ll be able to move forward.
3) The Split Between You Will Always Remain
Even if you and the person you’ve wronged have put that situation behind you, there is always a little shard of anger, guilt, and distrust at the heart of your relationship. To ask for forgiveness, even years later, helps to remove that shard, to solidify that relationship, and to show your friend or loved one that you care about his or her feelings.
4) Asking for Forgiveness is to Show Compassion, Not To Receive Absolution
Oftentimes, those we ask for forgiveness either aren’t willing or able to forgive us for our misdeeds. That isn’t why we should ask for forgiveness. We should ask for forgiveness to acknowledge the feelings of hurt that we see in those we harm. Whether they can forgive us in return or not, to acknowledge and validate their feelings will help heal the bond.
5) It’s Good for Your Heart (and Blood Pressure)
A study published in 2011 in the journal Personal Relationships illustrated that, in close relationships, when a victim forgave the perpetrator, both experienced a decrease in blood pressure.