These studies show us the cost of not forgiving others can be physically taxing on us. It seems like the world appeared more daunting to our participants who had recalled an incident where they had not forgiven their perpetrator.
While research indicates that training in forgiveness can actually bring about improvements in both well-being and health, actually forgiving can be easier said than done. If forgiveness is something you want to practice, try one of these strategies.
Although forgiving someone (or ourselves) can happen in an instant, my experience is that it is usually a much more lengthy process requiring great patience, trust, persistence and prayer -- more like peeling an onion or a lotus blossoming than a lightning bolt.
The heart often speaks to us quietly and with common sense. The mind tends to rationalize our desires and reactions. To help you distinguish between how your mind might sound vs. your heart, here are some examples in the same situations.
There comes a point when we must decide what our endgame is going to be, personally and for the planet. To me, the only one that makes any sense is love. It's how we have to define ourselves beyond all other criteria. This will ensure the health and abundance for all.
Sitting there at the kitchen table covered with coffee cups and an ashtray full of cigarette butts, I began to slowly comprehend that working on my problems wasn't the same as healing them. "You didn't forgive him." Those four words changed my life.
Forgiveness doesn't mean you condone the behavior or, in any way, make a wrong right. It just means you give yourself permission to release from your past -- and step forward with the mud of resentment cleared from your wings.
When we forgive others, we let go of our anger, resentment and bitterness, and we free ourselves of a great emotional burden that keeps us stuck in the past, in a perpetual state of perceived victimhood long after having been victimized.
Taking things personally damages our universal vision. It contracts our perception of self into a very small and narrow point in time. It limits and restricts our sight; it misguides our higher inclusive wisdom.
Forgiveness is for YOU. It's your liberation from the relentless re-experiencing of a hurt. It releases you from the gnawing feeling of ick you feel inside each time you hear the person's name or see their face.
In today's StoryCorps broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition, 40-year-old Julie Sanders sat down to discuss a part of her past she has never shared. At age 16, she belonged to a white supremacist group -- and one night in 1988, found herself at the scene of a murder.
Forgiveness is the only key to letting go. Forgive yourself for mistakes you made in the past because nothing will change what has already happened, the only thing you control is what you do in the future.