Forgiveness – a word so easily spoken yet so seldom fully understood.
Who truly wants to forgive the person or persons who created your pain, your loss, your grief?
Do they even deserve to be forgiven? Surely they deserve all the pain they inflicted on you or those you love? Do they just get to go through life with no consequence? If they apologise and show remorse should I forgive them?
The above are valid questions but irrespective of the answers, is the real question not can you afford not to forgive?
What is forgiveness?
There are a myriad of definitions and it means different things to different people but one definition states that forgiveness is giving up the suffering of the past and being willing to forge ahead with far greater potential for inner freedom.
Essentially it means making a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.
It does not mean excusing the person or forgetting what took place, but it does mean that you stop allowing the event to control and influence your life. It means that you have made a decision to stop living with the pain and resentment.
Holding on to anger and resentment is similar to swallowing poison hoping that the other person will die. Over time it will suck the life from you both physically and emotionally.
A very high price to pay.
benefits of forgiveness
It has been found that besides the reward and immediate release of negative emotional energy associated with letting go of a painful past, there are powerful health benefits that go hand in hand with the practise of forgiveness.
Some of the health benefits include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Less anxiety and stress
- Reduced symptoms of depression
- Stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
Letting go of the anger through simply writing a letter to express how you feel, even if you are never going to or cannot send it (in the case of someone who may be deceased) can lead to profound emotional healing. Emotional healing has a very direct impact on our physical wellbeing and when forgiveness takes place inside a person the energy that is released can be used in creating the life you dream of.
Dr Candice Pert who wrote Molecules of Emotion refers to studies which show that when people holding onto anger, pain, resentment, trauma actually write down their experiences, physiological changes occur, such as increased blood flow and a boost to the immune system that can last up to six months. She goes further to state that our feelings and emotions change the mixture of peptides travelling throughout your body and brain, literally changing the chemistry of every cell in your body.
You can impact your physiology by offering those who have wronged you the great gift of forgiveness.
In the end
Two Buddhists met each other after both being imprisoned and tortured for a number of years. “Have you forgiven them?” asked the first monk. “I will never forgive them! Never!”, repliesd the second monk. “Well, I guess they still have you in prison, don’t they?” the first says.
In the end you need to consider the cost. Very often lack of forgiveness is what stands between you and the life your dream of. You cannot create a beautiful garden while secretly planting weeds. Often it is at the root of your physical illness and sadly it can carry over from one generation to the next, perpetuating the pain for years to come.
You practice forgiveness for your own sake, not the other person’s. It is possibly one of the most difficult things to do, but in the end it is worth every effort since forgiving is not a sign of weakness; it is the very act of courage and strength.
Two magical little words – “I forgive” changes and saves lives.
Let it go. The cost of carrying it is high and the freedom that comes with letting it go will liberate you in ways you have not imagined.
It just takes the decision to let it go.