In our earlier post on Forgiveness, we showed that
- not forgiving lowers your immune system and increases the risk of heart disease
- feelings that accompany a lack of forgiveness include anger and anxiety. Both have a damaging effect on your emotional and physical health
- victims sometimes feel that by choosing to forgive they are condoning the actions of the perpetrators. This is not so – forgiveness is an act that releases you from the emotional poison of your mental battle.
- Sometimes we need to forgive without reconciliation – forgiving for the mere purpose of forgiving. Forgiveness is a gift to you! The first step is to realize that forgiveness is often an internal job. You may not have an opportunity for you to express yourself to the other person. Remember, as Buddha said – “Holding on the anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.’ So can you gift wellness to yourself? You may have to dig deep into your soul to do this but the resulting freedom can transform your life.
- Don’t jump to conclusions. There are obvious examples where an act is clear cut wrong but sometimes we create a version of events that are filtered by our unconscious belief systems. You will find that when you start to question your interpretation of events and loosen up negative beliefs about why someone did something, a sense of calm replaces a sense of injustice or resentment. One way to do this is to imagine other interpretations of why someone did what they did. Look at any mitigating circumstances. So if a friend didn’t call when they said they would and you are really cross – how about she lost her phone, or a family member was ill or……….
- An exercise in forgiveness
- Take sometime out and sitting quietly think of the person who has made you angry. Notice the feelings that come up and the effect on your body – a raise in temperature and increased heartbeat are common
- Take your focus off this image and breathe rhythmically – say in and out for any count as long as it is even. Breathe deep into your stomach then start to imagine you are breathing in and out of your heart.
- Bring to mind an image of something beautiful, a place or person you love. And imagine this scene being breathed in and out of your heart. If your mind goes back to the person who hurt you or anything else just bring your attention back to the breath and the new image. Do this for a minute or two.
- Lastly take a glimpse of the person who you are angry at whist maintaining the rhythmic breath. Let the good feeling protect you.
Anger and resentment can become habitual so this exercise can break down the power the person had over you. Do this exercise every day for 28 days and notice how differently you feel. You will have programmed your reactions and will take back the power that the other person had been given.