The Benefits of Forgiveness
“Why should I forgive him?” You ask as tears trickle from your eyes. “Let him rot in jail. He deserves it,” you say with finality as your body tenses tight, your chest firmly held out as if you’re ready for a fight.
“Can you imagine how that beast treated me like a boxing bag?” Whenever I asked him why he was late, it led to arguments resulting to beatings.” You sit on the couch, once again returning to the near-tear session.
On the table there is a photo of your husband. You pick it, stare at it for a few seconds anger registering on your face and with rage boiling inside of you which you find hard to control, you tear it into pieces.
The above is just a fictional situation on the pain and hurt people undergo because of other people’s insensitive actions and words.
Many of us feel it’s hard to continue bearing the ‘unspoken’ pain and heartaches wishing for death to come closer quickly, the reason why there’s an increasing rate of suicides around the world. We feel betrayed, rejected, accused wrongly, beaten endlessly, blamed for what we didn’t do or say, humiliated, raped, sodomized, forced into sexual intercourse with strangers, beaten for asking an honest question, sold as a slave, treated badly…the list is endless, that we end up crying a lot in our closets.
Our lives are filled with miseries, each day seeming hopeless that we don’t seem any longer to be in contact with the universe. We don’t feel motivated, energized, and happy though we might seem to be so by faking a smile but inside we are aching badly. Our moods are usually low, depression gets underaway, we keep rewinding back at times wondering why, why me, why?
As a result of the pain we’re experiencing, we harbor bitterness, resentment and anger. At this point our lives start becoming miserable, messed up, and our lives seem to go downhill. We no longer feel there’s anything to live for.
Then, you happen to hear someone saying, “Forgive.” Forgive? You feel like screaming on his face, are you nuts? Are you out of your mind? Look what he did to me? Look the way my life has turned out to be? And you dare say I forgive him? What’s wrong with you men?
The reason the person is saying so is not because he/she doesn’t know what it means to be hurt but because of the negative effects associated with not forgiving. On the other hand, if you forgive, there are benefits associated with forgiving.
Life is precious; you don’t need to end it. It won’t always be that way. When you learn to deal with hurts however painful they are, then you will be in control and you won’t allow another person to hurt you. At times we are hurt more than we care because we have conditioned our minds to be hurt.
You have a life to live, you need to enjoy it even in hard days and fulfill your destiny, and let no man come in your way. Like other people you can rise higher if you only believe in yourself, allow yourself not be hurt again and when hurt, find ways of dealing with the , that is, forgive. Not revenge.
The Negative Effects of Unforgiveness
Studies have shown when people don’t forgive, it affects their health (physically and psychologically) and their relationships.
When a person is hurt he/she harbors resentment, bitterness and anger. As long as you entertain these emotions or feelings, they take toil upon your life. They start ‘eating’ you inside-out.
The results are you become stressed day-in-day-out, depressed and find your life boring and full of hurt. Every day you’re filled with the thoughts, rewinding now and then how the person wronged you. In the end you may start developing thoughts of contemplating suicide.
Jack Kornfield: The Ancient Heart of Forgiveness
As indicated by Mayo Clinic, if you don’t forgive you:
“Bring anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience.
Become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present
Become depressed and anxious.
Feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you’re at odds with your spiritual beliefs.
Lose valuables and enriching connectedness with others.”
In terms of health, it may lead to: development of cancer, heart problems, back ache, head ache, stomach ache, joint pains, interferes with sleep, makes you vulnerable to other health conditions, and it becomes hard to make right decisions and think clearly (focused).
What is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is letting go of bitterness, resentment or anger caused by someone having hurt or done you wrong.
It’s not easy to forgive. We want to hold on to the resentment, anger and bitterness. We don’t want to let go. We believe it’s encouraging them to continue to hurt us because we’re vulnerable.
This is not the case. It doesn’t necessary mean when you forgive the person you condone the actions. At times you might forgive the person and his actions while at other times, you forgive the person but he will have to pay for his actions.
When you forgive, the burden of pain that was weighing heavily in your heart is loosed. Thus, you feel your heart is lightened; feel peace in your heart and with yourself, and find there is joy in living. Your life is not filled with misery, stress is reduced, the level of depression is lowered and you regain your health as the immune system is boosted, you find appetite for food has returned, you gain weight that you lost due to stress and depression, find yourself at ease interacting with people, the phobias you developed start fading away, you find a reason to live and reason to face tomorrow.
Don’t Forget to Forget
When you forgive it’s also important to forget what that person did to you. It’s not easy. As long as you remember what that person did to you, resentment, bitterness and anger start taking root, and your life will end up filled with misery.
It will take time but be determined to forgive in order to let that thought of pain to fade into oblivion thus not causing havoc in your life. Don’t keep remembering what he/she did, purpose to not to remember and your life won’t turn out to be full of hopelessness and helplessness.
Remember, forgiveness is not for the benefit of the one who wronged you but for your own benefit.