8 things you should start forgiving people for, according to psychologists

Forgiveness is good for the soul.

And while it doesn’t always come naturally, holding on to grudges only turns you bitter in the long run.

Additionally, plotting to get revenge on those who wronged you takes up a lot of mental space, which I’m sure you can put to better use.

You can learn how cryptocurrency works or memorize the nations of the world with a little help from Yakko Warner.

Think of the possibilities!

Here are 8 things you should start forgiving people for, according to psychologists.

Don’t let your relationships suffer because of petty stuff.

1) Past mistakes

We’re human, so everyone messes up every now and then, intentionally or not.

Forgiving others for past mistakes allows us to move forward with healthier relationships.

According to psychology, cultivating forgiveness helps you develop compassion for the offender.

In turn, this boosts your emotional intelligence and enables you to relate to others better in the future.

Plus, forgiveness allows us to release negative emotions, freeing ourselves from the burden of carrying around past hurts.

Rather than let unresolved conflicts strain relationships and erode trust, we push the reset button and give the other person a second chance.

Even if you decide that the mistake was too major to continue the relationship, refusing to let go of anger will eat you up on the inside.

Cut ties with the offender, but forgive them first.

By holding a grudge, you’re letting the people who wronged you further influence your thoughts and emotions.

Don’t give them that much power over you.

2) Broken promises

A big thing I’ve learned in adulthood is that broken promises often stem from human imperfection rather than malicious intent.

A friend promises to attend your party but falls behind at the office and has to work overtime instead.

A parent promises to buy you the present you want but an unexpected expense comes up and you have to settle for something cheaper.

You promise to finish a project by the required deadline but life interferes and you’re forced to ask for a deadline.

We are fallible beings who are prone to stumble.   

So when someone you love breaks a promise to you, give them a second chance. It’s unlikely they did it on purpose.

Psychologists even state that every loving couple has to deal with occasional broken promises.

When they occur, weigh them against all the good of the relationship.

As long as they don’t affect the foundation of trust, forgiveness is the way to go.

3) Rejection

Rejection stings.

I hate it so much that, for a long time, I’ve actively avoided putting myself in any situation that left me vulnerable to it.

Until one day, when I realized that my brilliant strategy was holding me back from taking any substantial risks.

I still struggle to take rejection in stride, but I’ve understood that I’ll never be everyone’s cup of tea.

And I shouldn’t hold that against them.

According to psychologists, strengthening your resiliency is an effective way to cope with rejection.

Fostering forgiveness helps with that.

Moreover, when you decide to forgive the people who rejected you, you respect their autonomy, even if their decision causes you disappointment.

Forgiving others for rejection requires empathy, as it acknowledges the validity of their feelings and perspectives.

Their rejection isn’t a reflection of your worth.

Remember that.

4) Unfair treatment

Holding onto feelings of bitterness towards those who treat us unfairly has detrimental effects on our emotional well-being.

It’s equal parts draining and frustrating. Not only that but it won’t make you feel better, psychologists warn.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where injustice abounds.

You will inevitably encounter situations where you are treated unfairly by others. Sometimes time and time again.

Forgiveness allows you to navigate these challenges with resilience and grace.

I’m in no way suggesting that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself and demand justice.

But once you run out of options to right the wrong, let it go.

Channel your energy into something more beneficial, like personal growth.

Or changing the unfair system that wronged you from the inside.

5) Inconsiderate behavior

If your partner uses these phrases during an argument theyre secretly holding onto resentment 8 things you should start forgiving people for, according to psychologists

We’ve all experienced some or all of the things below:

  • A friend was late meeting you, disrupting your schedule for the entire day
  • A stranger interrupted you in the middle of your sentence to get their point across
  • Another passenger on the train listened to music at max volume, preventing you from getting any sleep
  • A loved one forgot to text you back for hours, causing your anxiety to spike
  • You offered to help an elderly lady with her groceries, only for her to saddle you with two extra errands you never volunteered for

The list goes on and on.


Instead of taking inconsiderate behavior personally, understand that it’s usually a reflection of the other person’s circumstances or lack of awareness.

It’s rarely a deliberate attempt to hurt us.

What could you possibly accomplish by dwelling on it?

Outside of overcharging yourself with negative energy, that is.

6) White lies

According to psychologists, people tell white lies when the truth is overly complicated or uncomfortable.

These lies are told with good intentions, such as to spare someone’s feelings or avoid unnecessary conflict.

Following this logic, getting upset with someone for telling a white lie doesn’t seem particularly productive.

The person meant no harm. Quite the opposite.

By forgiving the slip-up, you shift your focus to the underlying intention behind the deception.

This preserves the relationship in the long run.

7) Judgment

Who hasn’t judged someone at least once in their life?

It’s a universal human experience. We all make assumptions about others based on our beliefs and experiences.

When someone else judges us, however, it stings. Especially if we begin to second-guess ourselves.

Even so, your worth isn’t tied to someone else’s opinion.

By forgiving them, you prove just that.

If the judgment came from a stranger, it probably occurred because they don’t know you well.

If it came from a friend, have an honest conversation to figure out whether they mean to criticize you constructively or put you down.

When it’s the latter, forgiving them doesn’t have to mean continuing the relationship.

It simply frees you from the emotional burden of holding a grudge.

8) The things they say in the heat of the moment

People can react impulsively in intense or emotionally charged situations.

We speak out of frustration, anger, or stress, allowing our emotions to get the best of us.

We don’t consider the consequences, and we don’t have time to process what’s going on in a healthy way.

As a result, what we say in the middle of an argument doesn’t necessarily illustrate how we feel deep down.

If a loved one said something hurtful during a fight, there’s a good chance they didn’t mean it.

Forgiveness allows you to move past the moment without damaging the bedrock of your relationship.

According to psychologists, by approaching situations like this with empathy you can connect to the perpetrator’s emotions and put yourself in their shoes.

Once you do, you’ll see where they’re coming from.

Maybe they had a bad day at work. Got stuck in traffic, which made them irritable. Forgot to eat.

Or maybe they’re dealing with a lot, and your argument was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Whatever the reason may be, accept their apology and embrace reconciliation.

Don’t let your hurt feelings fester until you blow up your life.

Final thoughts

Get out your secret list of enemies, take a deep breath, and start crossing people off.

Forgiveness isn’t something you only do for others.

It’s something you do for yourself.

It releases bitterness and allows you to reclaim your emotional well-being.

Doesn’t that sound better than wallowing in resentment until the end of time?

Picture of Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Pleșa is a freelance writer obsessed with television, self-development, and thriller books. Former journalist, current pop culture junkie. Follow her on Twitter: @alexandraplesa

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