I will be the first to admit that I can be a very stubborn person. Ask my parents, ask my husband – they will all agree. In many ways I am a true Aries – active, passionate and independent, but the fiery side of me also brings out my stubbornness, my need to be right, and yes at times, I can be quick-tempered. However, it is important for all of us to remember that the power of forgiveness allows us to live a healthier and more fulfilled life.
Being stubborn and having a need to be right means that forgiveness is not always easy for me. Whether it is forgiveness towards myself (we all make mistakes) or forgiving someone else for a wrong against me – forgiveness can be hard.
When I went through my divorce, I held onto one mantra – I wanted my children to be healthy and whole. The divorce, after a twenty-year marriage, was difficult for all of us. I had been lied to for years, I was filled with anger and hurt. It was not an amicable divorce. But I held onto that mantra for my children. However we were going to travel this journey, I wanted my children to be healthy and whole. For me that meant that they needed to have a good relationship with both their father and myself. Which also meant not putting the children in the middle of the divorce and never speaking ill of their father in front of them. Now I may have slipped up here and there – but I worked hard at it and made sure my children stayed out of the fray.
Working towards “healthy and whole” was not an easy endeavour and required some counseling to help one move forward. It meant that my children also had to work on forgiveness – and when it came to their emotional health – I totally supported them in moving towards forgiveness. Afterall, I really believe that forgiveness must take place to reach that healthy and whole state of life.
To forgive means that you let go of negative thoughts and emotions like anger, hurt, betrayal, and replace them with positive thoughts and emotions emotions such as peace, acceptance, and hope.
However, for myself, I was much slower in the forgiveness process. It took time for me to even begin considering moving from anger and hurt to forgiveness. While I could see the importance of forgiveness in my children’s life – when it came to me – it felt that if I were to forgive then I was somehow condoning the betrayal. For a long time it was much easier to be angry than to reach forgiveness.
Which brings me back to my mantra of healthy and whole. We have all heard the saying, “Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” You simply cannot reach that state of “healthy and whole” if you hang onto anger, grudges, and the wrongdoings of others (or yourself). You must find a way to move forward and then forgive.
The Power of Forgiveness
First off, carrying excess emotional baggage is something to be avoided if at all possible. It is unhealthy and will have you trying to assuage your emotions in unhealthy ways. Trust me – been there, done that.
Forgiving allows you to release the pain. Whenever you say, “I forgive you” to someone, you’re instantly freed from holding on to the grudge. You can now move on and live your life as peacefully as possible.
Most grudges become bigger than we are. They just seem to take over your entire existence. You may convince yourself, “I will push this individual into a little box in my mind and not think about them,” yet, you’ll soon find that to be impossible. It is hard to move forward when you are consumed with the past.
It is important to remember that to forgive is not the same as to condone. When we forgive we acknowledge that a mistake was made, that a wrong was done, and it should never happen again. To condone means to agree and even encourage something even if it is bad. They are not the same. To forgive someone does not mean that you condone their actions.
Unless you live in isolation or move far away – you most likely will encounter the person that you are holding onto the grudge against. If you go out of your way to avoid the person, you are giving them your power and altering our life in ways that you may not want to. I am not saying you need to rekindle friendships – but avoidance takes a lot of energy that could be much better spent.
Forgiveness is good for your health! When you forgive, you’ll have lower blood pressure. It’s a medically proven fact. According to John Hopkins Forgiveness affects many of your health systems. I have shared in the past, The Surprising Connection Between Your Immune System and Your Personality. Our emotions and our health are intertwined.
Ask yourself, “Why do you choose to feel hurt, angry, and resentful rather than peaceful and happy?” There are reasons that we hang onto anger: we want to be right, we want to be the winner, we don’t want to give in and admit our own faults – this all has to do with pride and our lack of humility. We don’t want to give up the pain and anger because we feel so justified in those emotions. It also has to do with being stubborn – something I am known for. However, hanging onto pride, anger, stubbornness, and resentment is toxic.
Forgiveness takes time. It is not easy, but when your forgive you let go of vengeance and resentment. When you decide to live a more conscious existence, you may have more room to forgive those who upset you. Realizing that forgiveness is in your best interest, you can move forward and re-discover a bright future. If you want to live a healthy and whole life – you need to find your way there.
The power of forgiveness is within you. Use it for your own greater happiness. As you travel you journey to health and wellness be aware of harboring negative emotions. It is time to let them go. My wish for you is to live a “healthy and whole” life.