Forgiving someone can reduce our stress levels, risk of heart disease and mental illness. It can prevent cognitive decline in later life, help you earn more money, and be happier.
Forgiveness is part of every culture, but how we choose to offer forgiveness are affected by our cultures and our personal psychologies.
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Individualists use forgiveness to relieve a burden and clear their conscience while collectivists use forgiveness to preserve social harmony, even if the individual still feels resentment towards their transgressor.
Western countries like the US or the UK tend to have more individualistic cultures, meaning personal gain is put before helping the wider group. In collectivistic cultures like Asia and Africa, the group is put first.
It is then important to be considerate of other people's differences, whether it is a result of their culture or worldview.
The separate types of forgiveness are sometimes used to explain the difference between collectivistic and individualistic approaches.
Almost universally, our minds link sounds with certain shapes or visuals. The sound of B, M, L and O being associated with round shapes and the sound of K, T, P and I giving a picture of a spiky, thin shape.
People tend to perceive names as round or spiky and imagine these personalities on people they haven’t met or seen. Example: Names like Bob or Molly are perceived as round.
This unconscious association is known as the Bouba-Kiki Effect.
The first step in forgiveness is to understand "why" someone acts the way they do. What are they trying to protect? What are they afraid of? What basic skills did they learn (or not learn) from their family of origin?
Understanding "why" breeds compassion and helps loosen the ties that bind us to blame.