Updated: Aug 29
Forgiveness is one of the toughest things to do but is also one of the healthiest things we can do. Forgiveness is defined as 'the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance.
Throughout my life, I have faced several situations in which I was the victim of abuse in some way. Some of these situations where minor and may have just hurt my feelings, but other situations were more severe and altered my life completely. Because of the seriousness of some of the situations I faced, it took me some time to forgive the person or persons I held responsible. In some cases, I had physical pain and in others, I had more psychological pain.
Forgiveness and your Health
Studies have shown that holding on to resentment can affect your health in negatives ways, but that forgiveness can help lower your risk of heart attacks, improve your cholesterol levels, sleep, reduce pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety.
When you have been hurt and disappointed it is not easy to just bounce back, though you can benefit more when you do.
Should you forgive and forget?
So if forgiveness brings more health benefits with it, should we forget what was done to us? Is the forgetting part really logical? Forgetting is actually not logical and could actually be counterproductive to forgiving. By keeping the memory of what happened to us can actually be used to help guide and teach us, but only after we let go of the anger and hurt that the situation caused us.
Forgive YES! But don't forget, take what we can learn and move on. Use the experience as a point of reference only. By doing this, you keep yourself safe from falling victim to some of the same tactics from the abuses you've experienced.
Follow your Cues
In order to stay in forgiveness and avoid new situations that could be psychologically harmful to us, along with not forgetting, we have to learn how to follow our cues. This simply means listening to your inner voice (God, The Universe, Buddha, Allah, etc..) to guide us to safety. We will receive cues in life that help to keep us safe, both physically and psychologically. This is where choice comes in, we can choose to follow our cues and stay safe or ignore them and potentially suffer more abuse or harm.
Think about someone in your life that you have not forgiven and then follow your cues on what you should do in order to move forward. You may be nudged to write a letter to that person, call them, or speak out loud to them even if they are not present. Follow your cues so that you can move forward and keep yourself in good health and well being. ~ Tooshay