Compassion and Gratitude Can Turn Difficulty into Strength

We flourish in the face of difficult interpersonal hurts through the pursuit of forgiveness and gratitude.

Research published in the The Journal of Positive Psychology (vol. 5, May 2010) shows that when a person experiences a “hurt” by another — whether it is by a loved one or a stranger, whether it is boundary-breaking or a failure to respond — attitudes of forgiveness and gratitude create positive response emotionally and physically.

The study found that choosing forgiveness — shifting from rumination about the “hurt” to seeing things through a lens of compassion — enable us to see the truth of the situation, as well as the complexity of being human and that we all are fallible.

Researchers also found that focusing on “hidden benefits” helps to broaden perspective so that we can appreciate the insights and growth achieved through the “hurt.”