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Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Generally defined by psychologists as a conscious and deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward someone who has harmed you, it is as difficult to practice as needed to achieved sustainable happiness.
When we feel hurt our organism release higher than the usual amount of different hormones and neurotransmitters, so our body gets overwhelmed with adrenaline and other chemicals creating a physical and impulsive negative rush to respond. When occasionally and under control, these feelings can be perfectly healthy, but when they turn particularly intense or long-lasting they can have drastic effects on the body, the mind, and the soul. When persisting longer than short-term, these changes start to affect all organs, digestion, sleep, mood, and a long list that goes on and on. Hate and hostility act on the detriment of physical wellbeing and emotional stability. It chips away at our happiness and clouds our ability to enjoy the present moment.
There is anyway a small but powerful stream of thought opposing forgiveness us such. On the premises of some adverse effects of it with regards to an abusive, manipulative or recidivist offender, forgiveness is understood as a symptom of weakness that just makes the transgressor stronger. But let’s make some important huge remarks.
- There is a vast difference between forgiving and forgetting. Forgiveness does not mean reconciling with the person who has harmed you. It is not about pretending that what has happened it is okay or re-establish any form of relationship with this person. You do not need to forget. Actually, you should always remember to ensure that this situation will not hit you twice.
- It is also vital to see the difference between purposely and un-purposely offends. Sometimes forgiveness requires drastic measures. It needs to place someone out of our lives or even to change our daily routines for good. Most of the times, it just requires large doses of humility and good will.
Forgiveness this way does not exclude your right to seek justice or compensation as well as fair punishment for the aggressor. But far from the eventual negative effects that it can have for a treacherous offender, forgiveness is always a healer for the offended one.
- It does ensure emotional and physical health as it stops the cycle of sustainable negative anger effects.
- It helps to repair relationships as it allows us to see others’ worth.
There is no way to achieve sustainable happiness when we are in an open or hidden confrontation with someone. Just to start, and according to a study conducted by Portland State University Institute on Aging surveying more than 650 adults over 2 years, prolonged conflict with other people is strongly associated with lower self-rated health and more health issues. What affects us emotionally, affects us physically too.
- It definitely allows us to grow in character and leadership as it helps us to become a better person.
And is not this the ultimate reason what we are here for?
But how do we move forward now? How can we take all this pain, all this anger, and all these constant negative thoughts patterns and transform them into our personal opportunity to excel?
Everett Worthington, pioneer clinical psychologist in the field of forgiveness, propose the REACH method for all those willing to make an effort to try.
1. R is for RECALL de hurt as first step of the process.
Try to visualize the event while taking deep breaths to keep your emotions steady. Acknowledge your inner pain but make an effort to overcome it by trying to recall the incident as objectively as possible. It’s your anger, not you. Express those emotions in a non-hurtful way without yelling or attacking. Avoid judgment and focus on letting resentment go.
2. E is for EMPATHISE with the person who hurt you.
It is good to remember that we are all able of the most unthinkable behavior. Do not incur in self-pity and examine the context, reasons, and emotions that lead to this situation. Trying to empathize and understanding the event from the offender’s point of view is essential. The more you replace anger with compassion, the less you will want to hold onto the hurt.
3. A is for the ALTRUISTIC gift of forgiveness.
Giving the free gift of forgiveness freely and not grudgingly is vital to ensure its healing effects. Try to remember every time you behave wrongly, and you were forgiven. Focus on the positive outcomes that the offense brought to your life. Focus on the positive results of freeing yourself from pain and bitterness.
4. C is for the COMMITMENT to forgive
Start always by forgiving yourself for your role in every actual conflict. Sometimes we are just not able to move forward because of our inability to condone ourselves. Put your forgiveness into words and action by performing the overt act of forgiveness verbally or in writing. These are not very simple actions but undoubtedly help you to work towards letting go of resentment.
5. And H is for HOLDING onto that forgiveness.
And when all those memories come back to your mind, be careful not to dwell on them. Interrupt any negative through and focus on the good flashbacks and all the good things that the offender has also brought to your life. Coun on time. It always works as a very good ally.
February 28, 2019 at 12:50PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs