Holly Hoechstenbach | Editorial Editor

Forgiveness…such a simple word but so hard to do when you’ve been hurt. I do not know one person that cannot relate to this. At some point in everyone’s life, whether it’s a friend, family member or significant other, someone has hurt us. We are often told that we are supposed to “forgive and forget,” however these two do not coincide. You do not have to forget to forgive. Forgiving an individual does not indicate you have forgotten what was done to you and it does not mean reestablishing an unhealthy relationship or friendship. One should never overlook or excuse the hurt that was done. What’s wrong is still wrong. Forgiveness also does not mean denying the hurt or reconciliation. What forgiveness does involve is releasing any feelings of resentment or vengeance and focusing on the future.

Why should we forgive someone who does not deserve to be forgiven? The good thing about forgiveness is when you forgive others it does not benefit them, but rather yourself. This may seem hard to believe, but it’s true. It’s a complex yet simple truth that I’m still working on myself. Through forgiveness we can let go of anger and the “poison” that’s still flowing through our veins.

You should never forget the past. To forgive means acknowledging the past and wrong done to you, reflecting on it, and accepting it’s the past. It is when you can remember the wrong without feeling the desire for revenge that forgiveness is fulfilled.

An absence of forgiveness can also take a toll on one’s body. Research has shown that when you don’t forgive bitterness can put you at risk for mental illness such as depression, anxiety, stress disorders and related physical diseases. In order to move forward in life we need to let go of past hurt. If we hold into the pain we are only allowing the person’s past actions to continue to hurt us. Don’t let the bitterness from one person take hold of your life; let it go.

This quote is completely accurate. “Without forgiveness life is governed by… an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.”  ~Roberto Assagioli

We may never fully understand the past and why things happen, but what we do have control over is ourselves and making sure we live a long, healthy life. So discard any negative, toxic emotions and focus your energy on the significant people in your life.

“Bleed Red” is an amazing song/music video that is by one of my favorite country artists, Ronnie Dunn. The song depicts that we are all the same. We are all human beings who have feelings and get hurt. It’s a part of life. Instead of holding a life-long grudge, we should follow Ronnie’s advice and “turn the anger into water and let it slip through our hands” and focus on the future. As Ronnie sings, “We all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way…We all say words we regret, we all cry tears, we all bleed red.”