Picture: Heidi Dietrich/Flickr
One particularly illuminating piece from the Mayo Clinic explains why failing to forgive others can have a negative impact on us:
When you're hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
If you're unforgiving, you might pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life might become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can't enjoy the present. You might become depressed or anxious. You might feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you're at odds with your spiritual beliefs. You might lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others.
Or, put more simply by the venerable Robert Frost:
If one by one we counted people out For the least sin, it wouldn’t take us long To get so we had no one left to live with. For to be social is to be forgiving.
Even if you don't use forgiveness as a tool to repair rifts with current social contacts, the benefits to your own overall health and happiness may be enough to justify letting go of old grudges and minor offenses.
"To be social is to be forgiving." [Lifehack]