1. Because anger feels good in the moment, but forgiveness feels good long term.
2. Because nothing weighs your spirit down more than toxic thoughts you’re harboring towards another person.
3. Because forgiving someone forces you to work through what exactly upset you so deeply in the first place (and why), whereas anger is just an in-the-moment, lashing-out experience that doesn’t get you any closer to moving on.
4. Because it helps you strengthen your bullshit filter – to know when someone is worth staying around, and when someone is so toxic that you need to find forgiveness of them within yourself and then walk away.
5. Because when you’re holding onto the anger you have for someone, you’re also unintentionally holding onto the thing that they did that hurt you.
6. And when you’re holding onto the thing someone did to hurt you, you’re needlessly cloaking yourself in pain that could be avoided.
7. Because forgiveness helps you to become more empathetic, which is one of the most important traits a human can have.
8. Because it gives you complete control over your own life. It allows you to be someone who experiences things actively, instead of someone who lets things just happen to them.
9. Because forgiveness has been proven to lower your risk of heart attack.
10. And it improves your cholesterol levels and it gives you better sleep and it reduces blood pressure and it improves your pain tolerance and it helps with anxiety levels and it lowers stress and it helps with depression. Come on.
11. Because you don’t need the other person in order to practice forgiveness. You can work through it, all on your own, regardless of whether or not they apologize.
12. And no matter what happens with them, good or bad, you can eventually move on from them to have a lighter, happier life.
13. Because it reminds you that you’ve hurt others in the past too, and it brings you to an awareness of the people who might still be harboring pain from you, pain that you have to make right again.
14. Because it teaches humility, something that’s very easy to forget in this day and age.
15. Because it strengthens your relationships, and gives them a much better chance of surviving – whether it’s family, friends or a significant other – because you know that both people will inevitably screw up and both people need to learn how to forgive and make peace with past pain.
16. Because it’s not the same thing as being naive, or being a doormat. What it is is a willingness to learn from the way you’ve been treated, to let it wash over you and then away from you, and to be wary of it in the future but to never let it control you or consume you.
17. Because at times, you’re going to be angry with yourself, too. You’re going to hate yourself, be embarrassed by yourself, loathe yourself. And it’s crucial to a life of happiness that you learn to forgive yourself, to accept your mistakes, to see what you did wrong and to let go and move on. To love yourself.
18. Because practicing forgiveness towards yourself (and to others) reminds you that you’re human, and that at the end of the day, there is nothing we all have in common more than that simple and complicated truth.