Are you in a loving relationship but find it challenging to let go and move on after an argument with your partner?
You want to move on—but you also want to be right. You may even think that letting go of your anger means you are “giving in” or condoning your partner’s unwanted behavior.
You may think you are getting a message across to your partner by holding onto anger that feels justified, but you may actually be hurting yourself. Recent studies show that holding a grudge increases your chances of experiencing anxiety, depression, isolation, overall stress, and other mental health conditions.
But how do we move past anger and heal our relationship? The answer often lies in forgiveness.
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as an intentional decision to release feelings of resentment toward a person or group who has harmed you. Forgiveness does not mean condoning or excusing offenses and doesn’t require reconciliation.
Research shows that resentment destroys relationships and that partners who can forgive and move past hurt and pain are more likely to have long-lasting and fulfilling relationships.
So, how do we let go and gain the power to forgive?
First, become aware of, acknowledge, and allow your feelings of resentment.
Second, acknowledge that your resentment is hurtful to YOU.
Third, ask yourself, “Will this resentment be important to me 10 years from now? Does this resentment move me toward my relationship goals?”
Fourth, challenge yourself to focus on your partner’s positive qualities and perspective so that you can work as a team to reach a compromise.
Fifth, choose to let go to achieve inner peace.
You will know you’ve truly let go and forgiven when you no longer feel the need to bring up the issue; you can talk about what happened and hear the other person’s perspective without getting defensive or angry.
Forgiveness isn’t easy; sometimes, letting go feels like a steep climb up Mount Everest. However, you can experience more moments of peaceful happiness within yourself and your relationship by choosing to let go. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Healthy Love Habits is Raising Arizona Kids’s relationship column for learning simple habits to create the healthy and loving connection you desire and deserve.
Karen Aurit, LAMFT, is Director and Co-Founder of The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation in Scottsdale. Karen is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in mindfulness theory. She is also an Adjunct Professor at The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law and Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law. Karen is married to Michael Aurit, and they live in Phoenix with their two daughters. To learn more, visit auritmediation.com