What is the true personal impact of NOT forgiving the hurts and insults that affect us?
Many people have asked what the big deal is if they don’t forgive someone for a hurtful moment or transgression that occurred a long time ago, especially if they really don’t have anything to do with that person today. Others are determined not to forgive, since they – inaccurately – believe holding that grudge somehow continues to hold the wrongdoer accountable, and thereby does something good for them.
On the surface it would seem to be innocuous enough to say it doesn’t matter if you don’t forgive someone with whom you no longer have contact. However, this is not entirely true, because as long as you hold the grudge, hurt or disappointment, you continue to suffer the negative emotion of that. You also keep yourself very much connected to the very person you say you have let go of!
As I stated in the first post, there is a difference between re-telling an event and re-living it. Think of an example from your own life of something you haven’t forgiven yet (almost all of us have them!). What happens when you think about that person or event? Does your blood pressure still rise? Do you still feel the same level of anger, hurt, frustration, etc? Think about what this does to you physically and emotionally.
Now let’s look more closely for a moment at what happens physiologically when you get upset about something that occurred in the past. Some people suffer from ongoing headaches every time they think about the person or event. Others suffer from gastric distress. Still others never realize that their back pain, or tension in their neck and shoulders, are actually a result of holding on to a resentment or grudge.
In other words, you are the only one who suffers from not forgiving. The other person involved in the event has most likely moved on, and has no idea that you are still carrying a burden. Completely unbeknownst to them, you remain connected, hurt and suffering. So…what are you really accomplishing?
Even worse, as any health practitioner will tell you, prolonged stress that causes these types of symptoms runs the risk of eventually causing more serious conditions. So you need to give your body a break, not just your emotions, by forgiving everything and everyone you can, and as soon as possible.
As I have said many times, pain is a given in our lives, but suffering is optional. Forgiveness is not an emotion. It’s a decision, and I realize it sometimes takes strength, courage and fortitude to choose to forgive and let go. But what other choice do we have if we want true freedom from it? We can’t go back and make what happened not have happened. The event occurred; we cannot undo it.
The only thing that happens when you replay the event and say “if only” or “it shouldn’t have happened,” or “it’s not right that it happened,” or all the other laments that people continue to think and say in these situations, is that you remain upset as you rehash the event or circumstance. In re-living the event in this way, you perpetuate your own turmoil, tension and upset, and this does not bode well for your overall health and wellbeing – mentally, emotionally or physically.
Instead of going down the same path of resisting what happened, why not decide to take something of value from the memory? What have you learned from the event? How have you grown, changed or evolved as a result of it? These are questions that truly help you move forward in your life.
Events that are painful, hurtful or damaging are the essential “pop quizzes” in our lives. Since we cannot realistically prevent challenging events and circumstances, all we can do is learn and grow from them. Once we learn something valuable for ourselves and our lives, the pain of the initial event dissipates. Then and only then are we truly free to move forward empowered and resilient.
To help people learn more about how to do this in their own lives, we are holding a free teleseminar on Wednesday, September 11th called “Anger, Grudges or Forgiveness?” If you are stuck in any grudges or thinking you can’t forgive someone for something, you don’t want to miss this – the program is free, but the benefits are priceless!
To register for the teleseminar click HERE.
AND to really develop your forgiveness muscle, you should consider participating in our experiential workshop on Sunday, September 22nd:
Letting Go and Living Free: The Fine Art of Forgiveness
In this workshop you’ll be able to actually work through hurts, practice the process forgiveness of others that really works, and learn how to work through other issues that come up where you need to forgive yourself as well – an important skill everyone needs!
Click HERE to read more and find out how to register for the workshop.
Humans are the ONLY species that have the ability to beat ourselves up, and too often we use that ability to punish ourselves over and over again for the same transgression! Learn how to STOP that self-deprecating, limiting behavior and truly live free and feel empowered.