The Christian Embassy of Christ's Ambassadors (CECA) founded National Forgiveness Day in British Columbia in the year 1994. Gradually this initiative gained so much momentum that National Forgiveness Day of British Columbia got renamed as Global Forgiveness Day. It is observed annually on 7th July to spread the message that forgiveness can lead to peace of mind for both the forgiver and the person who is being forgiven. Sometimes we struggle forgiving even ourselves for something that we have done. This leads to nothing but lots of unrest. Days like Global Forgiveness Day are essential to remind human beings that whatever has happened cannot be undone but what can be done is to work upon the quality of forgiveness. It’s not easy but the skill can be honed.
Connection between forgiveness and psychological well being
Researchers, Sadaf Akhtar, Alan Dolan and Jane Barlow published their qualitative study on forgiveness and psychological wellbeing in the year 2016. In their study they have cited a number of scholars and psychologists. All of them emphasize on the fact that when someone hurts another in a physical or emotional way, chronic emotions like hostility or anger develops in the person who has been hurt leading to physical and mental health problems. The scholars further emphasize on the fact that instead of dealing with the negative consequences of anger or a sense of revenge, if an individual is able to display sympathy, pity or compassion for the offender, a sense of wellbeing will be generated.
Forgiveness has been described as a therapy in the research study mentioning it as a significant factor for reduction of depression, stress and anxiety. The research study also highlights the fact that forgiveness amongst couples leads to higher degree of marital satisfaction. At the end of their study which consisted of a rich body of literature review, researchers, Akhtar, Dolan and Barlow conclude that “beyond reducing depression and anxiety, forgiveness may be a key facilitator of general cognitive, emotional and social wellbeing outcomes.”
It is understood that forgiving someone is not easy and complete forgiveness might not even be possible in many circumstances. The relationship might not get back in the previous shape but it would certainly help the forgiver and the person who has been forgiven to move on to a much happier version of themselves.