Forgiveness is a solo sport,

They sey that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. But when reality hits, it seems more easily said than done. The most precious gifts I keep giving myself are flight tickets and therefor time which I unapologetically spend with myself. Time wherein I recharge, reminisce, live my life at my own rythm .. And enjoy the benefits of fewer sick days. But did you know that actual forgiveness could make you benefit from physical improvements too? Such as: better immune function, improved blood pressure, fewer sick days and a greater life expentancy.

Inviting forgiveness,

Scott also mentions some empirically validated benefits of forgiveness that are in line with emotional improvements, like: sense of purpose, fewer episodes of depression, greater self acceptance, less anxiety and better anger management. ‘How forgiving am I?’, a question I asked myself, followed by immediate doubt. I guess I am not nearly as forgiving as I want to be. I haven’t checked my mental health in a while, but I assume I am doing perfectly fine. Never had any depression or whatsoever. And even though I joke around about my emotional stability by sending memes to my friends .. I can truly say that I am okay.

Forgiveness, the world needs more of it ..

“When we choose not to forgive, we not only miss out on the massive benefits of forgiveness (individual, social and cultural) .. We also submit ourselves to ongoing emotional pain, which sabotages the process of healing the broken parts of our story.” When we dwell on hurts from the past without inviting forgivenss, we remain stuck. And that’s exactly what happends when we ruminate, which we’ve all experienced or witnessed once or twice. Rumination is a form of perservative cognition that focuses on negative content. The problem of rumination is directly associated with the condition of unforgiveness.

Bitterness and holding a grudge will forever connect you to your abuser

For me ‘forgiveness’ is about making a choice. And I guess that’s the reason why I am in doubt about how forgiving I actually am. For example, I have never said ‘I forgive you’ out loud. All of us have experienced hurt, including myself, and I don’t carry that hurt with me on a daily basis. It lies more beneath the surface. Wounds, is what Scott calls it. When there is hurt, I tend to view the situation from as many perspectives as possible. I have given up on ‘wanting to understand the situation’, because I want to go on with my life. And because of the fact that we are all different ‘to actually understand one another’ isn’t always possible. Especially when the understanding part is one-sided. And when acceptance presents itself, I push aside gossip or ill-speaking. There’s just no room for any bitterness.

Overcome the barriers,

Forgiveness is difficult for a number of reasons. However, oftentimes we seem to resist forgiveness because we don’t really understand what it is. It’s like we’re telling ourselves the wrong story:

Forgiveness is not forgetting | “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget”, I couldn’t agree more. We can forgive someone’s actions and still remember the painful infracton. You could choose to stop expecting anything from the other person and keep reasonable safeguards in place as trust is rebuilt.

Forgiveness is not for the weak | When we carry this statement with us, internally, as a belief, it will instantly transform itself into a Berlin Wall. What we need here is a wrecking ball. Because in the end, forgiveness requires humility and courage. Mahatma Ghandi: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Forgiveness is not reconciliation | The process of forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship will be reconciled. You don’t actually have to restore the relationship. You can’t have reconciliation without forgiveness, which doesn’t automatically means that you let someone get away with it – something we mistakenly believe or what’s frequently assumed by others. You CAN forgive someone without reconciling with them. 

Forgiveness is not dependent on the other person being sorry | Because most of the times we may never hear the words ‘I am sorry’ from someone who harmed us. Never hearing these satisfying words may add to our hurt, but doesn’t keep us from extending forgiveness. Forgiveness is a solo sport. It’s something you do for yourself, to break free from the hold the other person’s actions have on us. 

So .. How forgiving are you?

Source: Past Present – Scott Vaudrey