In the same way that gratitude is a practice that can change your life for the better, the practice of forgiveness has a powerful, positive impact. Forgiving others and even ourselves is hard. We hold onto the anger, the sadness, the victimization as symbols of our hurt or outrage. We may feel that forgiveness means that we are condoning the negative situation or the person who wronged us. Experts on forgiveness who have researched the process and skill of forgiving like, Dr. Fred Luskin, share that the process of forgiveness is like the process of grief:
Before you can forgive, you have to grieve.
At the most basic level, forgiveness is on a continuum with grief. The way I understand it now is that when you’re offended or hurt or violated, the natural response is to grieve. All of those problems can be seen as a loss—whether we lose affection or a human being or a dream—and when we lose something, human beings have a natural reintegration process, which we call grief. Then forgiveness is the resolution of grief.
But the challenges we have with grief are twofold: Some people never grieve, and some people grieve for too long.
A deep human being feels pain and allows oneself to suffer because that’s part of the human experience. Without acknowledging that you’ve been wounded and you’ve lost something, you don’t gain the benefit of the experience—of acknowledging that you’ve been hurt and mistreated, but also of healing. And so there is a power that comes from the experience.
The power of forgiveness is one of emotional freedom and physical well-being. Forgiving does not mean forgetting, but it does mean moving forward, acknowledging the hurt and anger, and making a conscious decision to release it. Anger is corrosive. It causes stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and a whole host of unpleasant states of being. Forgiveness takes anger out of the equation and brings peace of mind and improved physical health.
To become a forgiving person, we have to practice forgiving smaller grievances. Then, when a bigger insult comes, we are ready, willing, and able to deal with it. No one can make the people in life behave kindly, fairly, or honestly at all times. We cannot end the cruelty on this planet. What we can do is forgive the unkindness that comes our way and put energy toward meeting our positive goals. Then we can help others do the same.
Forgiveness, like other positive emotions such as hope, compassion, and appreciation, is a natural expression of our humanity. These emotions exist within a deep part of each of us. Like many things, they require practice to perfect, but with this practice they become stronger and easier to find. Ultimately, they can be as natural to us as anger and bitterness. It takes a willingness to practice forgiveness day after day to see its profound benefits to physical and emotional well-being and to our relationships. Perhaps the most fundamental benefit of forgiveness is that over time it allows us access to the loving emotions that can lie buried beneath grievances and grudges. Dr. Fred Luskin – The Choice to Forgive
Forgiveness is for YOU. It is not for the person who wronged you and may not even be willing to acknowledge the wrong. It is not to pretend that it did not happen, just to “get along”, or to sweep it under the rug. Forgiveness is a powerful, personal choice that we can make for ourselves. In the same way that Melody Beattie said, “joy is a choice”, so too is forgiveness. It does not happen overnight, but is a process and practice that brings more hope, joy and confidence into our lives.
Fire Power Seminars promotes empowered living and works with individuals and teams to increase communication, positivity and confidence. To find out more about how we can bring empowerment to your team, contact Karen at 954.232.4486 or Karen@FirePowerSeminars.com.