After a while you drown out the voices that tell you “In order to be free you have to forgive” There might be some truth to it but at that moment you don’t really care, you want to be mad at that person with every fibre within you.
Forgiving people who hurt you is really hard and we don’t always see the actual point it. It’s not fair that they receive forgiveness after they’ve only given you pain. You were given hurt and sorrow while they received freedom. But (and yes here comes the: “but part”) If you choose not to forgive you have to constantly remind yourself that you are angry and resentful. Thinking then becomes a chore and hard work. After a while life becomes harder and more effort. Now, you not only have to think about everyday things but also the fact that you need to remember to stay mad at that person.
In order to reject something you need to fully understand what it is your saying no to – therefor you need to fully grasp what it means to forgive and if you’re willing to reject all the things (good or bad) that come with forgiveness. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you agree with what the person did and it doesn’t justify or excuse their actions, it doesn’t mean that you have to forget either. Forgiving is a decision you make to let go of resentment maybe even trying to get to a place where you might understand why they did it. “Compassion and empathy.”(Clinical psychologist Ryan Howes)
It has some butt kicking health benefits.
In US news.com columnist Angela Haupt writes about experts saying that when you forgive it helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol and one’s heart rate.
Not having to constantly remind yourself that you’re not upset anymore reduces levels of depression, anxiety and anger. Psychologist Robert Enright says that when you keep dwelling on all those negative emotions you’re more likely to displays them on someone else, you’ll lash out at friends and family for no apparent reason.
Psychotherapist Frank Luskin dedicated 20 years of life to finding and easy solution to forgiveness and it turns out – well there is none. He’s the director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project and says that if you don’t get past some of the wounds of the past, it will come up in everything you pursue.
A group of mothers, who’s sons had been murdered in Northern Ireland, joined one of Luskin’s research groups. Amongst them was a woman who had been searching for her son’s body since 1987
After revisiting the women a year later the lady searching for her son’s body’s daughter approached Luskin saying that after a week of attending the seminar they finally got their mother back. “The mother had been so consumed with anger that she was never able to be there for her other children. But she finally learned to forgive, and her daughter said, ‘We have a mother again.’”
According to Howes, you should focus on the following elements:
- Express the emotion, you’re allowed to feel hurt and angry
- Try to understand why – something you’ll always hear people say that they don’t want your apology just an explanation.
- Rebuild safety and always be sure that you feel reassured (otherwise you’re not really forgiving that person)
- Let it go. Holding on to things too tight just hurts your heart, breathe easy and let it float away.
While I was doing research on what it really meant to forgive I came across a quote by Oprah Winfrey “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” When you’ve reached that line where you’ve seen the hurt not as a punishment but as a lesson you know you’re on the right track.
Yes it is hard to forgive – but in the end you’re not doing it to release the person who wronged you. You’re doing it to release yourself. It’s an act of courage and strength. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Gandhi.