One way or another, Forgiveness is sometimes one of the toughest things for any of us to practice. Sure, maybe we can forgive someone about most things but we all have one or two areas that really hurt us or tick us off that we hold a grudge.
Often people think forgiveness is only for that person who we forgive. In reality, forgiveness is just as much, if not more, for us, ourselves.
We’ve all been hurt in some way, right? Maybe something minor like a comment, maybe something major like infidelity or crime. We all get angry, bitter, resentful, and can feel victimized.
Here’s the important part- if you don’t practice forgiveness, you will be the one who suffers most.
An example: I had a relative that was mad at me for 20 years about something. She held this grudge and limited communications with me and others around me. She told me that she thought about it almost everyday for those 20 years.Guess what, her understanding of the situation was wrong – and – I didn’t know for 20 years. So in other words, she was angry/hurt/sad for 20 years about something that really didn’t happen and the people that she blamed, me and a few others, had no idea for 20 years. Who suffered? Who lost sleep and wellness?
I’ve done this with different situations through my life. Either I didn’t have a clear understanding of something, blamed someone in error, and/or that person had no idea or care about my thoughts and opinions. I was the one who paid.
If we don’t forgive others, we might pay the price over and over by bringing anger and bitterness into our relationships and experiences. Life could become so wrapped up in the wrong that we might ‘miss’ or not be able to enjoy the present. We could become depressed or anxious. It is possible that our lives might lack meaning or purpose. And if we’re religious or spiritual, not forgiving will be at odds with our spiritual beliefs. Not forgiving can also lead to losing valuable and enriching connectedness with others.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Forgiveness, forgiving someone will make you healthier and provide many benefits to you personally…..
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
Whether you are a Christian or not, we can learn from the Beatitudes “Blessed are the merciful,for they will be shown mercy.” The Golden Rule is similar – if we forgive others, they will forgive us. If we are capable of forgiving someone, then we are more capable of being forgiven.
How can you work to forgiveness? Again, the Mayo Clinic has good suggestions:
- Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
- Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
- When you’re ready, actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
- Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life
Dr. Wayne Dyer, author, has these things to say about Forgiveness:
“Forgiveness is the most powerful thing that you can do for your physiology and your spirituality, and it remains one of the least attractive things to us, largely because our egos rule so unequivocally. To forgive is somehow associated with saying that it is all right, that we accept the evil deed. But this is not forgiveness.
Forgiveness means that you fill yourself with love and you radiate that love outward and refuse to hang onto the venom or hatred that was engendered by the behaviors that caused the wounds. Forgiveness is a spiritual act of love for yourself and it sends a message to everyone, including yourself, that you are an object of love and that that is what you are going to impart.”
Wayne Dyer also said “Forgiveness is really an act of letting go, releasing the anger, the hatred, the bitterness, the thoughts of revenge that we have been carrying around. We can do this letting go without even encountering the person we want to forgive.” and “Taking all the anger and hatred that is standing in your way and replacing it with love is the most healing thing you can do. Fill your soul with love, rather than anger and so many things will change in your life. None of us needs revenge, but we all need love.” (http://www.drwaynedyer.com/blog/why-we-forgive 8/13/10)
For me, I had to forgive people in business. When I was in my 20’s, I took over a family business. Clients and Vendors did things that I interpreted in a way (especially since I had a bigger ego then) that were offensive and I got angry and bitter. I complained, pondered on it, and I know that I pushed away opportunities, people and wellness. I wasted a lot of time long after the fact thinking about these things and it made no difference to them and only made my world worse. I remember the moment I realized that I was hurting myself I felt foolish. I looked back at all the people I complained to and felt immature. I feel like I instantly matured that day and I work hard at not blaming, holding a grudge, fuming over things. I still stray there but I can tell you that forgiving and letting go of the bad stuff really helped me in many ways.
Guess what, we must also Forgive Ourselves!
Here is a great article about Forgiveness
I’d like to leave you with a short, parting thought on Forgiveness from author Mike Dooley and his website tut.com
“The best way to forgive is not to blame.
Lovin’ you, The Universe ”