The story goes that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.
The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, he wrote in the sand: "Today my best friend slapped me in the face."
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.
After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: "Today my best friend saved my life."
The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now you write on a stone. Why?"
The other friend replied: "When someone hurts us we should write it down in the sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in a stone where no wind can ever erase it."
Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in the stone.
And research and personal observations show that the person who forgives is happier and perhaps even healthier. While the goal of forgiving may be noble, the effects are concrete.
Richard Fitzgibbons cites these benefits to the one who forgives:
Decreased levels of anger and hostility;
Increased feelings of love;
Improved ability to control anger;
Enhanced capacity to trust;
Freedom from the control of events of the past;
No longer repeating negative behaviors;
Improved physical health;
Significant improvement in psychiatric disorders;
On the other hand, one who cannot forgive may continue to suffer endlessly. There’s a Chinese proverb going like this, "The man who opts for revenge should dig two graves."
From the work of Roy F. Baumeister, Julie Juola Exline, and Krisin L. Sommer come these findings: There is an emotional cost of refusing to forgive. If the perpetrator is someone the injured party must continue to see, each contact with the offender will cause the victim to feel upset again. Continuing to feel angry toward distant or dead perpetrators, over transgressions that cannot be changed, does nothing but make the injured party miserable. Forgiveness would release the victim, and would be a welcome relief.
Roy F. Baumeister、Julie Juola Exline和KrisinL. Sommer的研究发现：对他人的不宽容需要付出情感代价。如果被伤害的一方不得不继续和犯错的人打交道，那么每一次与之联系都会让被伤害者感到心烦意乱。而如果犯错者不再联系或已经故去，那么对那些已经发生而无法改变的错误无法释怀只会让人更痛苦。对他人宽容不仅可以减轻自己的伤痛，也会让他人感到欣慰和慰藉。