Being able to forgive someone is hard, especially when their actions make you feel angry and sad. You feel justified in being angry and think that if you forgive them, that makes you weak – the person who let them “get away with it.” So, you don’t forgive. But did you know that not being able to forgive someone is actually harmful to your physical health? If you have a hard time forgiving someone, consider that doing so actually hurts you.

Robert Enright is a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and thanks to the research he’s conducted on the healing power of forgiveness over the last three decades, Time magazine dubbed him the “forgiveness trailblazer.”

His ongoing “Forgiveness Study” has helped abuse victims, along with people in strife-ridden areas, like Liberia and Northern Ireland and countless other individuals. His research continues to reveal that when people adopt a forgiveness mindset, they’re able to let go of toxic emotions such as anger, resentment, bitterness, guilt and hate. 

And when you’re able to release these toxic thoughts and emotions, you can experience some pretty astounding benefits. Just consider that letting go of a personal grudge can result in improved heart health, lower blood pressure, as well as a stronger immune system and nervous system.

Additionally the stress from toxic emotions can alter neural activity in the brain, weakening your short term memory, along with our ability to make good judgements. 

Not being able to forgive other people is actually very harmful to your health and wellbeing. And while you may argue that someone doesn’t deserve your forgiveness, consider that not forgiving them only makes your situation worse. Why would you add more suffering to your experience?

Being able to forgive someone is a wonderful way to keep your body and life experience a healthy and happy one.