Energy electrified the room during a recent talk I gave on forgiveness. Why talk about forgiveness now during the busiest time of the year? Why spend time on this topic when you are busy getting the gifts to give? Because one thing that women say they want more than stuff, more than material things, is acceptance of self. Pure and simple. Acceptance of who you are and what you have done or want to do. Acceptance for being you and granting forgiveness where need be; truly the best gifts we can give ourselves during the season of giving. Truly one of the best ways to enjoy these next few weeks, feel at peace with what is possible, and live in abundance and gratitude.
Forgiveness: This Is The Best Thing I’ve Heard
To help clarify what I am talking about, I want to explain what I am officially calling the best definition of the essence of forgiving that I have heard up until now. Dr. Fred Luskin, says that Forgiveness is based upon wanting yes and getting no. I wanted my boss to be fair and professional, I got no. I wanted a child without birth defects, I got no. I wanted to be safe and secure walking home that night, I got no. I wanted my husband to be faithful, I got no. I wanted my best parenting to lead to a better outcome, I got no. I wanted this (aka; life) to be easier, I got no.
So I Create a Resentment
So as a result of the no I received, I created a resentment. I wanted yes and I got no. I thought it should be one way, and I got something different. This is the way I thought it should be because that was my plan. The way I envisioned my life. The way I pictured it.
So therefore, the essence of forgiveness is really making peace with the word no. After the grieving, the full range of normal emotion that comes from being jarred out of our minds, you are at peace with the no.
The Effects of Not Forgiving
Did you know that the effects of not forgiving are something you could easily mistake for a serious medical diagnosis? Check this out (what is actually happening when we do not let- go and forgive)
- Your immune system is compromised when you are under internal stress. Your body pumps out stress related chemicals which cause things such as; thinning of the hair. weight issues, headaches, and frequent colds & infections.
- Increase risk of depression
- Increase anxiety
- Anger is toxic to your mental and physical health causing stress reactivity and increase risk for heart disease
- You bring bitterness and anger into relationships and hence loose connection with others
- Battling with God and your spiritual and religious beliefs
Forgiving Yourself and Others is an Act of Self Love
But when we forgive, we can stop and even reverse these effects. Because forgiveness is an act of self love. Deep love for yourself as a Child of God. It can help you let go of the effects of injury. It is making peace with the word no and it is giving the next moment a chance. Forgiveness gives yourself a future full of love, joy, and possibility and it is choosing to let go of thoughts of revenge and other negative feelings and move on. Move forward. Yes, forgiving and accepting yourself is a tremendous act of self love.
Forgiving Yourself is Not Easy
Forgiveness of self isn’t easy, but anything worth having, rarely is. Forgiving yourself for something you have done (forgiving yourself for not spending more time with your girlfriend who has cancer) or forgiving yourself for who you are (forgiving yourself for not being as driven as your next store neighbor). Forgiving yourself for something you have done or failed to do means you are finally saying I am no longer justifying my behavior, or absolving myself from responsibility, rather I am simply and finally forgiving myself. Whereas, forgiving yourself for who you are means you are finally looking in the mirror and unconditionally accepting yourself flaws and all. Ultimately, forgiveness comes down to acceptance. Similar to what I wrote about in last weeks blog post, acceptance and forgiveness usually go hand in hand.
The Benefits of Forgiveness: What the Experts Say
So why bother looking in your own backyard, so to speak? There is so much to do, why take the time to work on you? According to the Mayo Clinic, the list of the benefits of forgiving is impressive:
- Lower tension, anxiety, anger, blood pressure, and heart disease
- Lower rates of depression, stress, hostility, and chronic pain
- Lower risk of addictions
- Greater spiritual, psychological, and emotional well being
- Healthier relationships on all levels; mates, friends, and family
- Higher self esteem
- Freed up energy. Can go forth and reinvest your energy as you choose
- Greater feelings of hope, optimism, compassion, and self confidence
4 Simple Steps to Forgive Yourself
- Recognize that forgiveness is a choice. Remember that the pain, unrest, and frustration of the past is inescapable, but continuing to suffer is optional.
- Remember that forgiveness is a verb. It is not a one time event. It takes practice, time, and effort to go through the process of forgiveness.
- Once you realize what has been happening, that withholding forgiveness is hurting you, you begin to feel more, begin to wake up, and begin to accept. You can and will probably go through the range of emotions; anger, resentment, sadness, and hurt. After the awareness, after the full range of emotions, and when you feel ready, ask What is it I’m being taught? What’s the lesson?
- Lastly renewal has arrived, when you can take your freed up energy and apply it to something else. Something better. Something more empowering, positive, and joyful!
Remember during this season of giving that giving yourself forgiveness is truly an act of self love. It means you are finally valuing your own peace of mind more than a grudge. Forgiveness is peace in the present. It is saying YES to life as it is right now. It is being in the moment. Ultimately, isn’t that the best present you can give to yourself in this season of giving?