The science on forgiveness only dates back to 1989. Here’s some of what’s known:
- People are more likely to forgive loved ones than public figures.
- No offense is unforgivable, although betrayal is harder to forgive and different people are more or less forgiving.
- Forgiveness takes various forms. Some people decide to forgive; it’s more external than emotional forgiveness, which is internal.
- Forgiveness comes more easily to children.
- Carrying a grudge literally weighs you down. People who forgave someone jumped 11.8 inches, compared with people who wrote about their grudges, who jumped 8.5 inches.
- Absolution is better for your heart, but you can’t fake it.
- Asking for forgiveness works—eventually.
- So far, domestic cats have shown no signs of conciliatory behavior.
—Adapted from “Sorry, We’re Human,” Melissa Dahl, New York.