In the 2015 film, The Revenant, actor Leonardo DiCaprio portrays an early 19th century frontiersman whose companions abandon him in the wilderness. The film is partially based on the real-life story of Hugh Glass. According to some historical accounts, rather than enact revenge when he returned, Glass forgave those who had wronged him and went on with his life.
If Hugh Glass can forgive after surviving such an ordeal, can we learn from his example?
There are many reasons to feel wronged, both large and small. Perhaps a coworker lied to cheat you out of a promotion, or maybe a partner was unfaithful. The need for vengeance is a natural reaction, but it can also cloud our thinking. Just as there are reasons to feel vindictive, there are reasons for forgiveness, including healthier and better relationships, reduced stress, improved heart health and higher self-esteem.
Without forgiveness, we often find ourselves locked in the past, struggling to find peace within our minds. We pass up new opportunities that arise and deny ourselves the chance to grow. If you’re struggling to find some forgiveness in your heart, here are some things to consider:
How have you reacted, and what effect has this had on your life, your health and your well-being?
How is holding on to that grudge benefitting you?
Who is being hurt by holding onto it?
Learning to forgive isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come overnight. Gradually though, we can move to a point where we’re concentrating on what we’ve done to define our lives, not what someone else has done. That’s where the real forgiveness begins.