Forgiveness leads to happiness

Imagine you have worked hard on a scientific paper with a college. You consider your college to be a friend. However, on the publication day you realize that your name has been deleted by him or her. What do you do?

One of the biggest myths about forgiveness is that once you forgive someone you agree with what the person has done. However, this is not true. When a person forgives, he or she labels the offender’s behavior as morally wrong but accepts the person as having worth despite the offense. Additionally, forgiving does not mean forgetting. 

A study exploring the contributions of forgiveness on happiness among adolescents found that there was a significant positive relationship between forgiveness and happiness. A sample of 200 adolescents completed the Heartland Forgiveness Scale (HFS) and the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHQ) which assessed forgiveness (of self, others, and situations) and happiness.  Increases in forgiveness were associated with more happiness among this sample. Failure to forgive is an indicator of poor mental health such as depression and anxiety. One explanation for the increase of happiness is that forgiveness can be seen as an emotion-focused coping strategy. This emotion-focused coping strategy reduces stressful reactions and therefore fosters positive emotions such as happiness.  Additionally, forgiveness can be seen as an act of self-therapy. Forgiving people can improve your mental health relationships, and friendships. 

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