The festive season is a time for love and generosity, but for many it gives rise to feelings of anger or resentment towards others. Perhaps it’s the best time for the gift of forgiveness? Wesley Francis thinks so.

We spoke to two of our readers about their journey to forgiveness and asked a team of psychologists for advice on how practising effective forgiveness can benefit your life.

I struggled to forgive the person who I created life with, but as a single mother and a woman who loves life, I place great value on my inner peace as I know it can affect my daughter. ‘Forgiveness does not mean re-entry’ is a powerful quote that helped me transform a lot of the anger that I was holding onto into something positive and productive.

I learnt that I can forgive for my own peace of mind and for the benefit of my child without allowing the negative energy to impact our lives. Forgiveness may not always be easy but it sure is worth it when you’re actively grateful for the little things.

My grandmother taught me that the pain and joy of the journey to forgiveness is worth the peace we’re left with. I am grateful that I had time with her to work on our relationship before she passed on. Through this, I learnt a lot about empathy, to speak up for myself more and to understand that the hurt I was feeling was not my fault nor something I deserved. Understanding forgiveness began with self-reflection. I had to remember that the bond that I have with someone is more valuable than the situation that required forgiveness.

Clinical psychologists Kevashini Govender-Naidoo and Ayesha Booley-Schreuder from Impilo Consulting, share their professional advice on understanding what forgiveness means and the benefits thereof.

Forgiveness is a journey and it usually requires thorough reflection and processing for it to feel genuinely authentic. It can be challenging, especially when the offender offers no apology or displays no remorse, but it allows us to free ourselves from negative feelings which can affect our mental health.
– Kevashini

Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. It means that one can encounter a past offender but not feel burdened by these negative feelings. It doesn’t mean returning to the same relationship or accepting the same harmful behaviours from that person.
– Ayesha

Both Kevashini and Ayesha agree that forgiveness is highly beneficial. It has been shown to elevate your mood, enhance feelings of happiness, hopefulness and optimism and reduce feelings of anger and resentment. If you’re ready for the journey, it could the best gift you can give yourself this festive season.

THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on December 03, 2020 Rating: 5
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