Forgiveness opens the doors to reconciliation. Are you holding a grudge although you know you shouldn’t? Learn why forgiveness is important and find out the ways to forgive.
I am sure all of you have been told many times of the importance of forgiveness. Every time you hold a grudge it’s like carrying a sack of stones over your shoulders. Every time you don’t forgive you are adding up one stone to the sack. Holding grudges is exactly that: holding stones of negativity that are eating you up, making you angry, resentful and bitter.
Oh yes, I can hear you saying, not letting it slide gives you something to hold on to. The idea of a vengeance gives you a false sense of purpose, something to strive to. But do you really need that kind of purpose? Do you really want to spend your life with that sack of toxic grudges weighing down on you? Do you really want not to forgive?
Whether your answer is yes or no, here are five insights on why forgiveness is important and how to forgive.
You cannot be happy and joyful while holding on to a negative emotion
Having resentment, anger or hate towards somebody strips you of a chance of experiencing life. Holding on to a negative emotion consumes you, it directs your choices and taints your existence. You cannot be happy and joyful while holding on to a negative emotion.
Negative emotions cause disbalance in your natural energy and hormonal levels which in turn weaken your immune system. Negative emotions are opening doors to all sorts of illnesses. How? Mind – body connection is one of the most powerful ones. It is as inevitable as gravity. Both emotions and thoughts are pure energy. That energy on a cellular level translates into information. Therefore with each emotion/thought you have, you are sending a certain information to your cells ( i.e. to your body ) and pretty soon your body will respond. Every illness, ache or pain is your body’s way of warning you that something emotionally is amiss. It is like a smoke alarm. If you pay attention to the language we use to describe those toxic feelings, the mind-body connection formulates it perfectly: “eaten up by guilt, jealousy, anger and consequently by illness”. Remember that you always have a choice: to be happy and healthy or to stay miserable.
Acknowledge your emotions
“I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I don’t want to forgive you! I want to hurt you! I want you to feel the pain I feel!” Does it sound familiar? What would you gain by doing that? Your ego won’t mend; your heart will still be broken; you won’t get your joy back or whatever it is that you were deprived of.
But it is very important to become aware of your emotions. First step is identifying what it is exactly that you are feeling. You might think you are angry when actually you are hurt or frightened. Most of us weren’t taught to recognize all the nuances in our feelings so you have to expend what Iyanla Vanzant calls “emotional vocabulary“. Once you recognize what it is that you’re feeling you have to acknowledge it. Give it space. Feel it in all its intensity. Breathe it in and breathe it out. Sometimes the acknowledgment itself will bring a release. But sometimes it will be harder; you will feel a great anger, sadness or pain that would feel like you have to get them out physically. When those emotions arise use the help of Dr. Pillow or Dr. Sony: punch a pillow or yell at your voice recorder or even write and angry letter but let yourself feel. It is important to get those emotions out.
Revenge provides a false sense of justice
At first you might feel the need to hurt the one you perceive as the source of your misery. You might even catch yourself contemplating all sorts of revenge scenarios. And that is perfectly alright since in our minds we believe that revenge would satisfy our need for justice. But it would not. What does revenge gives us is only a false sense of justice. Why false? Because eye for an eye only gets us all blind. It doesn’t bring your eyesight back. Hurting somebody only creates a perpetual wheel of pain: I hurt you, you hurt me, I hurt him, he hurts them and that way we all get to keep negative emotions within us.Negative energy only produces more of negative energy. As Pierce Brown writes in his trilogy “Red Rising”: “Death begets death begets death”.
Forgiveness is process of letting go of the need for justice and vengefulness
Once you acknowledged and felt the intensity of your emotions it’s time to let go of them. Let go of the need to make other side feel the pain, get rid of that sack of stones over your shoulders and let the beauty of life shine upon you. You don’t have to love the other person, nor be friends again, you only have to lose the desire for them to suffer. The further you are with forgiving, the closer you’ll get to wishing them well.
Your heart is where forgiveness starts
Usually there is one person that you hold the biggest grudge against; the one you find hardest to forgive. And that person is the one closest to you – yourself. You tend to be particularly merciless towards that one: you poke eyes, pull hair, sabotage and trip, diminish and say bad words to. Still it is the only one totally dependent on you to mend a broken heart and heal its pain. Once you realize it is time to heal and let yourself be happy turn to your heart. It is exactly where forgiveness has to start.
It is the time of awakening. For those who are struggling with forgiving, I recommend this great book, the Art of Forgiving
Are you willing to forgive? Share your perspectives with us!