The Power of Forgiveness to Heal and Transform our Lives
I have heard people say that revenge rather than forgiveness is the way to go. Some will even go as far as to say that forgiving someone is cowardly, unmanly, or foolish and shows weakness. Do not believe them. These people choose to live in the past and keep everyone else there as well. They choose to drink the poison while expecting the other person to die. They will carry the burden of guilt and shame throughout their lives.
See, for you, forgiveness is actually the strong, courageous, honorable, mature and spiritual thing to do. When we refuse to forgive another’s perceived transgressions all we are doing is continuing to allow those same offenses to hurt us again. We are literally giving them power over us and poisoning our spirit as well.
Forgiveness is neither weak, cowardly, nor foolish.
It is what we must do if we are to continue to grow and evolve into our best selves and that takes strength, courage, and vision.
It is important that you forgive those who have harmed you, forgive those who you feel have harmed you, and forgive yourself.
For those struggling with forgiveness, here is a simple, yet powerful exercise you can easily do. Begin by sitting comfortably, close your eyes, and let your breath be natural and uncontrolled.
- First, ask forgiveness from those you have harmed by saying (silently or not, as you prefer):
“If I have hurt or harmed anyone, knowingly or unknowingly, I ask their forgiveness.”
- If you visualize specific people while doing this, release the burden of guilt and ask for their forgiveness:
“I ask your forgiveness.”
- Next, ask forgiveness to those who have harmed you.
“If anyone has hurt or harmed me, knowingly or unknowingly, I forgive them.”
If you visualize specific people or circumstances, continue by saying,
“I forgive you.”
- Finally, turn your focus to forgiveness of yourself. If there are ways you have harmed yourself, not loved yourself, or not lived up to your own expectations, this is the time to let go of unkindness toward yourself. You can include any inability to forgive others that you may have uncovered in the previous step.
“For all of the ways I have hurt or harmed myself, knowingly or unknowingly, I offer forgiveness.”
Continue this practice as a part of your daily routine, and allow things to develop in its unique way, in its own time. Do not try to rush it. Be patient.
Do not be concerned if there is not a great rush of loving feeling, this is not necessarily an instant cure, even though many will feel an immediate sense of relief and unburdening. Remember to continue to be kind to yourself through the process. We are paying respects to our ultimate ability to let go and begin again. We are asserting the human heart’s capacity to change, grow, and love.
Do you still need a little convincing as to the power of forgiveness? Here are just some of the health benefits of the transformational power of forgiveness:
- Lower blood pressure
- Stress reduction
- Less hostility
- Better anger-management skills
- Lower heart rate
- Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse
- Fewer depression symptoms
- Fewer anxiety symptoms
- Reduction in chronic pain
- More friendships
- Healthier relationships
- Greater religious or spiritual well-being
- Improved psychological well-being