Psychologist Bob Enright pioneered the study of forgiveness. He believes that true forgiveness is the offering of empathy, compassion and understanding (towards the person who has hurt you).
Research has shown that forgiveness is linked to positive outcomes such as reduced anxiety and depression. Holding on to feelings of anger and resentment can be stressful and when we are able to let this go, our muscles relax, anxiety levels decrease, and we have more energy to focus on the more positive aspects of our lives. Forgiveness can be especially relevant in relationships, where things like betrayal and resentment can often occur.
Psychologists have developed a 20-step system to move people through the phases of forgiveness, however there are also self-directed steps that can be taken to get there: