“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi

When people apologize for doing something wrong, forgiving them is much easier. But, what happens when you don’t get an apology? 

Many of us would find it hard to go up to someone and grant them forgiveness when they haven’t accepted fault for what they did. However, holding a grudge or plotting revenge against the person will only burden you in the end, and will use up valuable energy. Not to mention, many studies have found that the act of forgiveness can actually benefit your health!

Researchers have found that forgiveness can reduce pain and blood pressure, eliminate or greatly ease anxiety, depression, and stress, lower the risk of a heart attack, and even improve cholesterol levels and sleep quality.

If better health doesn’t inspire you to forgive those who have wronged you, we have found a few more reasons to extend your forgiveness as well.

Here are 5 reasons to forgive people who don’t apologize:

1. People aren’t perfect.

Even though the fact that they didn’t say sorry might make you livid, confused, and hurt, understand that people make mistakes sometimes. Not apologizing doesn’t mean that they don’t love or care about you, but maybe they genuinely don’t see what they did wrong. Or, maybe they have a lot on their plate right now and simply took out their frustrations on you. You have no idea what goes on inside people’s heads or in their lives at all times, so show compassion. Ask if they need help. Offer an ear to listen.

Just because they wronged you, doesn’t mean they deserve a punishment of some sort. Try to put yourself in their shoes and look at the issue from a wider perspective.

2. Forgiveness will improve your life, as well as theirs.

Holding a grudge will only weigh you emotionally, mentally, and sometimes, even physically. Any negative emotions we harbor can quickly transform into physical sickness, so keep this in mind the next time you avoid forgiving someone.

When you do choose forgiveness, you also choose happiness. You have taken responsibility for your emotions and realized that you don’t have to hold on to negative emotions. You can let them go by forgiving someone, regardless of if they have apologized to you or not. In turn, when you forgive someone, you set them free, too. You tell them, “Even though you hurt me, I value our friendship and want to give you a second chance.”

Hearing this will make them understand your friendship or relationship’s importance, and the experience will strengthen your bond.

3. It isn’t your place to judge them.

Judgment only divides people further – when you label someone as a “bad person” just because they haven’t apologized to you, you invite negativity and fear back into your energy field. You allow your ego to consume you, and you only stoop down to their level when that happens. Remember, two wrongs don’t make a right, so instead of judging them for their mistake, use your compassion and understanding. Forgive them anyway, and ask if you can help them with anything.

Your job as a spiritual being having a human experience is simply to love – as much as possible, as often as you can.

4. Karma will take care of their actions anyway.

You don’t have to get revenge on someone who hurts you; karma will do that for you. Karma provides balance to the universe; every action bears a consequence, so any wrongdoing must, by law of the universe, have a repercussion. Don’t trouble your soul with thoughts of getting back at them – let time and the universe do their part, and keep living according to your own truth.

5. When you forgive, you allow a relationship to heal and grow.

Holding grudges and harboring feelings of resentment will only stunt the growth of a relationship. On the other hand, forgiveness acts as the water that nourishes the seed, sprouting it and bringing it to life. So, using this metaphor, holding a grudge causes a relationship to die, while forgiveness breathes life into the relationship. Make sure you do your part to keep your relationships healthy; this way, you can live light-hearted and accessible, knowing you have lived in a way that embodies love and compassion.

However, this doesn’t mean you must let people walk all over you. Suppose you have chosen to forgive the person, but they continue to repeat the actions that hurt you. In that case, you should either walk away from the relationship or sit down and talk seriously with them about their behavior.