Holding on to those toxic feelings is only hurting YOU in the end.
When I took a defensive driving course several years ago, the instructor had two loud and clear messages for the day. First, don't drink and drive. Second, let the road rage go.
How many of us have been in a car with people who lose their cool when another driver cuts them off, tailgates or honks their horn at them?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that over a seven year period, nearly 13,000 injuries or deaths happened because of aggressive driving. Aggressive driving escalates QUICKLY. These tragedies — the pain and suffering — occurred because those on the receiving end refused to "let it go".
Don't let this type of toxic thinking negatively impact your happiness. Here are seven reasons to let it go and forgive:
1. It's Good For Your Health
Holding a grudge or holding onto anger can actually make you physically ill. Refusing to let it go is toxic and can actually cause physical illnesses (like ulcers), emotional anguish and undue stress. Frequent high levels of anger can even cause heart disease. Why not learn to relax and extend your life?
2. It Makes You More Focused
When you forgive someone, you heal yourself — how powerful is that? It lifts a heavy burden from your heart as well as your shoulders. Your mindset will probably shift to a more positive place. Plus, you'll sleep better and get more accomplished at work.
3. It Makes You More Likable
Is being right or having the last word worth the price? Are you willing to cut the cord with this person? Or can you agree to disagree and break the “he said she said” syndrome?
4. It Shows Your Strength
Forgiving is a sign of strength, not weakness. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Forgiving means you're in control and can get out of victim mode and into a place of influence and positive energy.
5. It Improves Your Relationships
Forgiving your loved ones will translate into major rewards for your personal relationships. It can earn you respect, recognition, admiration, love, trust and SO much more. It will give both you and the other person an opportunity to grow.
6. It Makes You More Successful At Work
We spend most of our waking hours at work, so why not practice forgiveness there? Letting it go at work with colleagues, employees and management can also lead to improved and healthier relationships, better synergies, and increased productivity and energy. Employees who hold onto grudges and retaliate are endangering the mission and welfare of the company (as well as their own job security).
7. It's Emotionally Intelligent
The ability to manage one’s own emotions is a key aspect of emotional intelligence (EQ). Studies show that EQ is more important than IQ in determining one’s success in their careers and personal lives.
The next time you feel the anger brewing or are about to explode, take a deep breath and exhale slowly, count to 10, blog or journal about what you're feeling and give that anger a chance to dissipate. Take a line from Frozen's Queen Elsa’s playbook and sing, “Let it go, I’m never going back, the past is in the past!”
And there it shall stay.