Forgiveness of Others Makes Your Life Better
[l2g name=”” id=”882″]Most people think that forgiveness means you’re doing something for the person you are forgiving but the truth is that forgiveness benefits you.
When you feel negative emotion, it disrupts the proper processing of your body and mind. Your immune function declines, leaving you more susceptible to illnesses from colds and flu to cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s. Negative emotion means your body and mind are stressed. Citations to research that support the negative impact on you from stress are in my book.
Stress also negatively impacts your cognitive processes. You are literally not as smart when you’re stressed as you are when you’re relaxed. You may already know this on some level because problems that seem unsolvable can become solvable when you take a break and have fun. I can’t tell you how many people have shared how well this works for them.
Stress, especially chronic stress, disrupts your digestive function causing everything from stomach upset to obesity and diabetes.
Chronic stress changes the hormone composition of your body which can result in adverse results from pregnancy including preterm delivery, children who have higher incidents of asthma, sleep and behavior problems,and even depression before age 16. It’s not just Mom’s stress level either, depressed expectant Father’s seem to have an impact that is significant even though scientists cannot yet explain how it happens.
When you’re stressed, your relationships suffer and not just the relationship where you are unwilling to forgive. Stress causes lower mood, which means you’re not as nice to the people you want to be nice to in your life. You’re actually more likely to do or say something for which you’ll want to be forgiven when you’re stressed.
It may help to know that you can forgive someone privately–in your heart and mind. There is no requirement that you tell the person you’ve forgiven him or her. Sometimes you may want to do this, but it is not a requirement. Forgiveness is a gift you’re giving to yourself.
Forgiveness does not mean you have to allow someone back in your life. They are separate things. Bundling forgiveness with allowing someone back into your life just makes everything more difficult.
Reframing something can make it easier to forgive. For example, I was totally devastated when my 1st husband decided he wanted a girlfriend and a wife. Like many women, I blamed her more than him. Years later I realized she had done me a great favor. I would never have become who I was if I had remained married to a moody, abusive husband. I not only forgave her, I wrote her a thank you note.
It does not matter how long ago the transgression you have not forgiven happened or even if the person(s) are alive or not. If you think about it and feel negative emotion about it more than once a year it is well worth it to take the time to find forgiveness in your heart and mind.
Until you forgive someone who hurt you, there are walls around your heart that you may not realize are even there–walls that keep you from being fully loving in your current relationships with parents, children, spouse, or friends. It isn’t until the barrier is gone that you realize the effect it was having in your life–how you were holding others further away from you by your words and actions.
Forgiveness sets you free. Free to move forward. Free to love fully. Free to explore who you are instead of who holding you where you once were.
Ask yourself, “Can I find a perspective about this that would make me feel better?”
Did you learn something beneficial from the experience. Hint: Don’t reach for a negative lesson such as not trusting–that does not serve you. Reach for something that feels good when you think the thought.
Have I become more because of this?
Could I have even become who I am if not for that experience?
Do I know more about how strong I am because of that experience?
Did what once seemed as if something had gone wrong now seem as if it led you to a better path than the one you were on ever would have done?
What reasons can you find to forgive?
Give yourself some times to contemplate. Don’t start with the biggest transgression. You can begin with smaller things and just get some experience forgiving first. It makes it easier to forgive things that seem big–even really big things.
You probably have small things you can forgive everyday–maybe even ones you already do. Did the kids wake you up too early Saturday morning? Did you forgive them?
Did someone cut you off in traffic, or more likely this time of year, take the parking space right before you were going to pull in?
Did your spouse eat a bowl of your favorite ice cream in front of you when you were on a diet?
Many of us automatically forgive smaller transgressions. Some don’t. You know where you are. Start small, just a little past where you usually forgive and work up to larger resentments, stored anger, and hostility.
Also, work on those more general things as well. Some people resent others’ success. Forgive them. The best way is to change your attitude from envy or jealousy to believing that if they can do it, so can you. Use the others’ success as evidence that success is possible.
Some people resent others’ just for being part of a group they perceive has advantages over the group(s) they believe they belong in (gender, race, nationality, socioeconomic status). Those groups are self-assigned. If you associate yourself as a member of an underprivileged group, change your perception of who you are. Maybe you can decide that you will be a leader that will demonstrate to others in your group that you can achieve your goals instead of one more example of why no one in your group can. No one other than you is deciding what group you belong to. There are many examples of people who were once poor who became successful, but none of those examples defined themselves as poor. They might have recognized they did not have what they wanted in that moment, but they were moving, not taking up residence where they did not want to stay. It’s a slight shift but mindset matters. Since it is such a slight shift, anyone can do it.
Anywhere you feel resentment, anger, hate, or other ongoing negative emotions is an opportunity for you to forgive.
This means you have the power, power over how you feel. When you allow negative emotions to fester they can be as damaging as allowing an infected cut to fester. You wouldn’t do that so why would you allow the negative emotion to inflict the same harm on you.
If you’re struggling with this idea, think about that for a while. Remember the last time you had a cut on your finger that became even the least bit infected. How often did you bump it against something causing a spike of pain? Isn’t your negative emotion the same way? You never know when something you see will bring it back full force, just like bumping your infected finger, or worse.
You can heal your own emotional pain and you won’t miss it anymore than you miss the infected cut on your finger once it has healed. Forgiveness of others is a good way to make your life better.
For more techniques on defusing stressful thoughts so you can relax and enjoy life more, try one of my books.
I really appreciate that you are reading my post and hope it provided value to you. On LinkedIn, I regularly write about Happiness, Stress Reduction, Human Thriving, Primary Prevention, Health and Wellness, and more. If you would like to read my regular posts then please click ‘Follow’ (at the top of the page) and feel free to also connect with me via Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. Please consider sharing this information with your network. If you found it valuable, they may also find value in what I have written.
Here are other posts I have written for LinkedIn Pulse:
- What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say
- Could your Company be Liable for Stress-Related Illnesses and Deaths of Employees?
- Does Employee Retention & Motivation Keep You Awake at Night?
- The Key Ingredient Your Corporate Wellness Program Needs is Missing
- One Good Way to Change a Deeply Depressed Mood
- Are You Hoping Your Anger Punishes the Person You’re Angry With?
- No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
- Have you said something nice today?
- Happiness and Stress are two ends of the same Continuum
- Is Happiness Wrong? What Do You Think?
- The Future of Health Care: True Prevention
- Workplace Bullying: Healthy Workplace Legislation
- Empathy or Better?
- Employee Stress, Employer Risk?
- Could Anger Derail your Career?…from Coach to Defensive Coordinator?
- Stress Kills:Happiness Heals
- Irresponsible Media Kills Teens
- Ray Rice: What Do We Really Want?
- Calling, Career, or Job: does it matter?
- Does Stress Destroy Your Holidays?
- Are Your Thoughts Lying to You?
- Do You Ever Worry That Someone You Care About Will Harm Him or Her Self?
- Are You an Adult?
- Prevent Suicide: The Smart Way
- Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness this Holiday Season
- Weight Loss: One Smart Way
I wish for you many blissings. (Blissings = blissful blessings)
About : Jeanine Joy Jeanine Joy is an inspiring and life-changing author, speaker, and scholar. The purpose of her life is to seek out knowledge that increases human thriving, create explanations and processes that provide practical ways for individuals adopt strategies that enhance their lives. Her programs, books, and speeches empower people to fulfill their dreams and enjoy more loving, happy, and successful lives. Her ultimate goal is to help create a better world for everyone on Earth.
Coming in 2015