Yesterday I was in a conversation and the person said he often forgives because he doesn't want to feel chained to that experience or that person who hurt him. There is freedom in not holding yourself hostage with an unforgiving heart.
When I walked the Camino de Santiago, I met a man from Germany. Michael and I spent a number of days walking together and he allowed me to interview him for my film. Here is a tiny excerpt from his interview:
This popped into my head during my conversation yesterday. I really like how Michael so clearly equates forgiveness with freedom. In parts of the interview that didn't make the final cut, he had talked about a few very difficult situations in his life. This made him the man he was, someone who is was very matter-of-fact in the point that there truly is no other way for him than to forgive.
When we forgive, we are not holding on to negative feelings of anger, resentment, mistrust, etc. When you give up those feelings, you allow yourself instead to be open to joy, to look for good in other people, to trust that others won't do what that person did to you. When you approach other relationships from this positive stance, those experiences will be better for it. You will be better for it.
So if you are struggling to forgive, think of the positive things that will come from forgiving. Think of the others in your life who will benefit from having a forgiving, positive person in their lives. Think of the freedom you will feel when you stop focusing on the hurt and break the chains that are binding you to the person who wronged you.