Forgive And Forget – A Matter Of Choice

To forgive and forget is so easy to say but doing it can be pretty hard but these choices can be powerful.

Wise moves if you wish to forgive and forget

Sorry - Forgive and ForgetForgiveness can be viewed as a result of authentic love – a gift given freely to those who have hurt you or simply put, by grace one is forgiven.

Forgiveness benefits both the forgiven and the forgiver as well. It works both ways and the person showing forgiveness can experience a multitude of good effects and paves the way for emotional balance as part of a healthy lifestyle. It can lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, a drop in the stress hormones circulating in your blood, disappearance of back pain, stomach problems, and headaches and can lessen anger, bitterness, resentment, depression, and other negative emotions.

Walking the talk is difficult when it comes to forgiving. Almost everybody loves the thought of forgiving until they are tested with a difficult situation where forgiveness is needed. And forget about the goal of forgetting in the process.

As the old cliché goes, ‘forgive and forget,’ for most people this is impossible. This does not speak about literal forgetting but rather forgiveness that comes from pure hearts – that is remembering with grace. Any connection of negative thoughts of contempt are done away with.

Sure stress buster: Forgiving (and Forgetting)

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A study was conducted among 71 college students. Those who dwell on injustices and focus on unforgiving responses their blood pressure surged, their heart rates increased, brow muscles tensed, and negative feelings escalated. When it comes to imagining themselves forgiving the offenders, forgiving responses induced calmer feelings and physical responses. Truly, harboring unforgiveness comes at an emotional and a physiological cost.

Cultivating forgiveness

Be cognizant that love, can’t be forced. You can’t just will forgiveness. There are instances where forgiveness is possible. By practicing skills that banish hostility and self-pity, positive emotions and heartfelt release of resentment will soon naturally surface.

Encouraging forgiveness in life

Being thankful and practice the art of acknowledging what’s good in your life.

Gratitude is simply guarding your thoughts and focus on the positives that life brings. This creates a biochemical experience, making forgiveness a lot easier.

Best stress fighters can be by meditation, deep breathing, or relaxation exercises, as well as cognitive reframing. Acceptance of the situations that we cannot control is likely to occur if we practice these in our lives.

Still wishing for a better mother or a better lover? But when you come to think of it, the world is the way it is.

Finally, try to change ones attitude or perspective in life. Appear more like survivors who are hopeful about the future rather than victims with a grievance.

Why not change pessimistic thoughts of, ‘I hate my mother because she didn’t love me,’ to, ‘life is a real challenge for me because I didn’t feel loved as a child’. With this in mind, forgiveness is attainable.

Classifying forgiveness patterns

There are basically two types of forgiveness. Decisional forgiveness involves choosing to let go of angry thoughts about the person you feel has wronged you.

Sometimes, we have the tendency of disillusion ourselves with decisional forgiveness. These consists of statements like, ‘I am not going to seek revenge,’ or, ‘I am going to avoid that person’. One can choose decisional forgiveness but still carries the baggage of  emotional unforgiveness.

Keep in mind that the main goal is emotional forgiveness, that is purging out resentment, bitterness, hostility, hatred, anger, and fear. These are to be replaced with love, compassion, sympathy, and empathy.

The healthy option is to emotionally forgive and disengage from ruminating on the wrong and ugly things done to you. This can ruin your mental health and could lead to psychological disorders like being obsessive-compulsive, anxiety and depression.

REACH ing for forgiveness

Here is an amazing 5-step program called REACH to bring out a healthy lifestyle of being forgiving.

  1. Recall the hurt with an open mind,stop the blame game and thoughts of self-victimization.
  2. Empathize by looking at the viewpoint of the erring person.
  3. The altruistic part involves remembering the moments of receiving the grace of being forgiven as well.
  4. Time to commit to forgiveness. A crucial decision to make.
  5. Finally, one must then hold on to forgiveness.

This was proven to be effective when the creator of REACH applied it to his own life. He recalled when his mother was beaten to death with a crowbar in 1995, and yet, within 30 hours he was able to forgive the youths who had committed this horrible crime.

When it is okay not to forgive

For people who cannot forgive, then it is still okay. For some individuals, recognizing that you don’t need to be obligated in forgiving comes as a huge relief. One can simply resolve their feelings and say, ‘I can never feel OK about these terrible things, but I’m not going to be vengeful.’

A 3-step process to help achieve this resolution:

  1. Re-engagement – decide to think about what happened.
  2. Recognition – look at the details of every feeling you are experiencing, ask questions like ‘why do I want revenge when in fact revenge is the result of powerlessness?’
  3. Reinterpretation of the injury  – understand the person who caused it. It determines whether you are truly a forgiver or not. Try to go through this process and thoughts of self-victimization  will not haunt you.

Indeed, forgiveness produced benefits for the forgiver. What is important is to work it through and achieve a resolution even if it leads to forgiveness or not. Forgiveness is a journey and a daily affirmation that you need to do. When you find yourself not wishing  them ill, it’s a good sign that you are almost there of getting over it!

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3 Responses

  1. Abr says:

    Many religions in the world also emphasis the importance of forgiveness. Forgiveness undoubtedly makes our live easy and our health improves. This articles explains its health benefits in detail and effectively.

  2. Forgiveness is excellent for your body, your associations, and your place in the earth. That’s cause sufficient to induce nearly anyone to do the work of letting go of annoyance and working on pardon.

  3. Larry Lewis says:

    As a healthy lifestyle and stress management coach, I totally agree of the necessity to forgive and forget to combat stress. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but it’s generally necessary for emotional health and peace of mind. A quote that i use when discussing this topic is:
    “I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note – torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one”. ~Henry Ward Beecher

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