By Audrey Marlene


As Featured On Ezine Articles

Learning to Forgive

According to Wikipedia, the ability to forgive is a mental, emotional and/or spiritual process of releasing resentment, anger, or ill feelings you have towards another person. It is mental because you have to make a conscious decision to let go of resentments. It is emotional because feelings of anger and resentment are strong emotions that must be released. It is spiritual because you must feel inspired to let go and pardon but once you do the soul feels cleansed and liberated. You can ever take it one step further to include the physical because the unforgiving person can experience many physical symptoms that can develop into more serious physical conditions.

The ability to overlook something when you feel you have been wronged is a brave and courageous act. Whether you were wrong or wronged, letting go is a therapeutic experience. It frees the mind of unnecessary burden. In order to truly be at peace and to navigate life with optimism, the act of forgiving is an essential component to achieving that.

Ever notice that the person you hold a grudge against pops in your mind quite often, more than you like? The grudge and resentment you carry can become burdensome. It follows you, interfering with your mood and ability to focus on what's important to you. The burden can become so great that it can eventually consume your life, changing your temperament in the process. Feelings of unhappiness may find room in your life and reside there as long as the resentment stays. A happy person is a forgiving person and vice versa.

By learning to say "I'm sorry" you are rewarding yourself with a great gift. You, the one holding the grudge will benefit more from forgiveness than the person you are unwilling to forgive. It is a concept difficult to accept at first but once you try forgiveness the experience that follows is calming. Are there any grudges you keep hanging on to year after year, month after month day after day? Allow yourself to soar to levels that can bring you more peace and success in your life. Allow yourself to forgive.

The Unforgiving Consequences

The unforgiving person harbors feelings of resentment, anger, hurt, or envy, which can have serious physical and emotional consequences. The unforgiving person becomes unable to allow feelings of love to emanate and instead their health is compromised. In order to restore and maintain good mental and emotional health, the unforgiving person must learn how to forgive.

Recent studies have clearly indicated that anger and resentment doubled the risk of heart attacks in women with previous coronary problems. There have been other studies that revealed that many fatal diseases such as cancer are also caused by anger and resentment. Feelings of resentment is an unnatural function. So when you continuously harbor these feelings it can take the form of physical stress.

When the body holds anger and resentment, the stress response is triggered. Heart rate increases, blood pressure increases, muscles tense, jaws clench, and tension builds. The result is chronic pain and headaches, restricted blood flow to certain areas of the body, reduced oxygen supply to the cells in the body, and diminished healing. As the resentment lingers, blood flow to the heart is compromised. The breathing is affected, the immune system functions at an impaired level, leaving you vulnerable to infections.

Besides your physical health, your emotional and mental health is also compromised when you are unable to forgive. You become easily distracted and lose focus. You experienced decreased productivity and this sets in more frustration. Your anger and frustration injects more negativity into your psyche, which gets transferred to all other areas of your life. You become impatient, and difficult to deal with. Before long, you are impossible to be around.

Holding grudges is a negative emotion. The more negativity the mind cherishes, the more is festers and spreads, affecting your disposition and behaviors. If negativity is what you put out, that's exactly what will come back to you. Allow more positive flow of emotion in your life. Learn to let go of the negative emotions.

Examine your life. Are you an unforgiving person? Do you have a tendency to hold on to old feelings of resentment and anger? If so, begin today to search for the true you again. You cannot even imagine how it feels to forgive and release these mental tensions. Focus on what is truly important to you and don't get stuck in a world of unforgiveness. Look for ways to open your inner self allowing more freedom within. Allow your vitality to improve. Begin to enjoy good health and a harmonious life again. Begin to forgive - life is too short to hold grudges.

How to Forgive

Forgiveness is a liberating experience. It brings a sense of relief from the past that one can never anticipate. It keeps you grounded in the present, building a better future and letting go of the past. Many people have the misconception that the person whom the grudge is held against is the unfortunate one. On the contrary, the person holding the grudge is the one who is bound to the negative feelings. The one holding the grudge is the one who is at risk for sleepless nights and negativity.

It is difficult to move forward and free yourself of the inner strife and bitterness you feel towards someone who you feel wronged you. Let's look at ways you can move one step closer to forgiveness.

You know the one(s) you hold a grudge against. You are aware of the resentment you feel towards that person. Here are some tips on how to make that choice to forgive.

  • Write a letter to the person you want to forgive. Save it on draft. Express all the emotions you feel without holding back. Do not send this letter. Just keep it on draft to reread when you have the time and edit it as needed.

  • Find the most objective friend or therapist you have and retell the details of that experience to them. Remember although we may feel wounded, there are two sides to every story. Are you only looking at your side emotionally and subjectively?

  • Replay the events in your mind and try to objectively see if you in any way contributed to the events surrounding the hurtful experience (s). What could you have done or said differently?

  • Remember, forgiveness doesn't always mean you have to resume the relationship you once had with that person. You can forgive and wish that person well but choose not to associate with that person. You can still be cordial and say hello when you meet but the feelings of resentment no longer exist.

  • Look carefully to find the lessons to be learned from this episode. How have you grown from it? What can you take with you as you move forward?

  • Forgiveness is not conceding. It is not a form of acceptance of the behavior that offended you. On the contrary, it is a way of voicing your disapproval of the behavior so it wouldn't repeat itself in the future.

  • Wish the person well. Look at the other attributes that person possesses and what they brought into your life. Pray for enlightenment to come their way so they can end their negative patterns of behavior.

  • Begin today to learn how to forgive. Once you have liberated yourself from the feelings of hurt and resentment you will feel happier. You will no longer feel bitter and full of resentment. Other will detect a new glow in you and you will feel free to move on with your life. Give it a try!

    It's time to let it go. It's time to liberate your soul from the negative things that can corrupt it. It's time to be free of petty grudges. Do it for you not for anyone else, the benefits are multifold. Make the choice now to forgive and make room in your life for happiness to enter. Let your mind feel free again and the rest will follow, good health and a cleansed soul.

    Poem on Forgiveness

    By Barry S. Maltese

    If you try to reach inside of your heart
    you can find forgiveness, or at least the start.

    And from that place where you can forgive
    is where Hope, and Love, also thrive and live.

    And with each step that you try to take
    and with that chance that your heart might break

    Comes so much happiness, and so much strength
    which alone can carry you a fantastic length

    For hate and anger will not get you there
    and though you say that you just don't care

    You can EASILY avoid the pain on which hate feeds
    . . . the kind of hurt that No one needs

    Just make the move, take that first stride,
    let go of the thing known as "Foolish Pride"

    Maybe then you can start to repair the past
    into something strong, that will mend, and last!


    Quotes on Forgiveness

    Compiled by Audrey Marlene

  • "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."- Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

  • "If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive."-- Mother Teresa

  • "When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free."-Catherine Ponder

  • "You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well."- Lewis B. Smedes

    "Gandhi was right: if we all live by 'an eye for an eye' the whole world will be blind. The only way out is forgiveness."- Sidney and Suzanne Simon

  • "Forgiveness is almost a selfish act because of its immense benefits to the one who forgives."- Lawana Blackwell

  • "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."- Martin Luther King

  • "Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future."-Paul Boose

  • "Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom."-Hannah Arendt

    Take a moment to ponder these terrific quotes on forgiveness

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