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The Power of Forgiveness: Why It's Essential During the Holidays by Michelle Donice Gillis, Ph. D.

Updated: Jan 4

The holiday season is a time for joy, gratitude, and restoration of relationships. However, it can also be a time of heightened tension and stress. Whether it's due to family issues, difficult memories, or opposing political views, the holiday season can bring up painful emotions and unresolved conflicts. That's why forgiveness is so important during this time of year.

When we hold onto grudges and resentment, we carry around emotional baggage that weighs us down and prevents us from moving forward. Forgiveness allows us to let go of those negative emotions and find inner peace. Studies have shown that forgiveness can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve overall emotional well-being. During the holidays, it's especially important to prioritize our mental health and emotional healing.

When we forgive others, we open ourselves up to deeper connections and more meaningful relationships. Holding onto grudges and resentment can create emotional distance and barriers in our relationships with loved ones. Forgiving someone doesn't mean forgetting or condoning their behavior, but it does mean acknowledging their humanity and choosing to let go of resentment. By choosing forgiveness, we can build stronger, more resilient relationships with those we care about.

Practicing forgiveness can shift our mindset from a negative, resentful attitude to one of gratitude and positivity. When we focus on forgiveness, we're more likely to notice and appreciate the positive aspects of our lives and relationships. This can lead to a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment, even during challenging times. By choosing to forgive and let go of negativity, we're inviting more positivity into our lives and fostering a spirit of gratitude.

Forgiveness is not only beneficial for ourselves but for those around us as well. When we forgive, we're giving a gift to both ourselves and the person we're forgiving. It's a way to show compassion, empathy, and understanding. During the holiday season, giving the gift of forgiveness can be a powerful act of love and compassion.

Unfortunately, forgiveness is not always easy, and it doesn't happen overnight. Forgiveness is a process that requires intention, patience, and self-compassion. It may take time to fully forgive and let go of negative emotions, but the journey is worth it. By committing to the process of forgiveness, we're taking an important step towards healing and wholeness.

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