Not one person get’s out of this life without at least dozen stinging smacks of complete unfairness across the face. We didn’t deserve such uncaring behavior, and they don’t deserve you to forgive them, right? There are polarities in all societies that leave people thinking “how could they not see the other side?” Funding goes to the ‘wrong’ place, a company gets away with poisoning the well to save money. People believe in things that others believe are dangerous for the population. Even in our personal relationships, people are abandoned, cheated, and abused. How do we fight a fight that stops this madness? How do we stand our ground and protect ourselves from future violations? Is it even possible without the evolutionary tool of resentment? Are we leaving ourselves vulnerable even asking these questions? I hear it all the time, “I can’t just let them get away with what they did to me.” What if I told you that you don’t actually get amnesia when you forgive someone. The saying “forgive and forget” doesn’t mean you let go of the memory, you forget to continue to be upset about it. It get’s better than that though.
What is actually gained for the forgiver? You might be surprised.
# 1 – You become a stronger person.
It is one thing to endure hardship. It is a whole different ball game to be at peace with it. Pain is just pain, it is the body and minds warning sign of damage. Strength is pain transformed. The change that takes place happens from a decision. The muscles decide that they will adapt to a new level of weight so that the body can move past an obstacle. The mind can also strengthen to move past something and heal its initial soreness. The muscles have it easy, they decide on their own usually to adapt. Our minds need a little decision making on our part. A harsh example of this decision is a beaten and battered woman. She isn’t empowered the second she is struck, it comes later after a decision that she is not remaining a victim. Martin Luther King Jr. did not become a legend of strength and goodwill because he hated white people and wanted revenge on them. He wanted equality and was willing to put any negative emotions aside to change his outer world and get it peacefully. He was willing to convince others in pain to also be willing. He changed his inner world to change his outer world. That takes strength.
# 2 – You age less quickly.
We all know about the connection between stress and illness, we hear about people becoming a thorn in your side and it could very well trigger something tangible like an ulcer. So we might consider our health when it comes to moving on with our emotions but what about our vanity? If you don’t want a thorn in your side you probably don’t need any in your face either. So stop losing hair over things you will never be able to change.
# 3 – You become smarter.
How could that be real? When we let go of seeing something a certain way, we actually open up our perspective on the matter. When you see their point of view more clearly you can factor in their circumstance and usually, you see their own pain that leads to your betrayal. Having thoughts like these add up, and instead of the one track mind that anger can lead to you will see the situation front and back, beginning and end. If your mind is not in fight or flight mode it tends to be in problem-solving mode. There is a reason it’s recommended to meditate for 20 minutes a day to boost brain power, less tension means fluid thinking. How intelligent does dwelling in the past sound anyway?
# 4 – You have more energy.
When we think about the people we dislike or worry about the things that have happened to us, our cortisol spikes. We get a rush of energy that is really helpful in fueling pissed off thoughts and maybe stubbing your toe. Having this fighting rush of energy quickly plummets into a depressively drained feeling and a weakened sense of self.
# 5 – You miss out on fewer opportunities.
If you avoid certain situations because of past experiences you might be avoiding a great time or a good deal. For example, I recently bought a new phone from a person on Facebook, my friend drove us to the city even though he had a “gut feeling” about a bad deal. The phone was perfect(and still is) and the seller was extremely nice and actually helped me figure out how to change a simple network setting on the phone the day after. Let’s just say my friend’s “gut feeling” was calculated fear from being ripped off in the past. Still be cautious, but be cautious about if your caution stems from a limiting fear.
# 6 – Your overall health improves.
Resentment = stress, stress = acidity, acidity can lead to just about any disease or preventable dysfunction in the body. Even if you are in only a slight state of annoyance, you are putting your health at risk. This sounds absurd, and since we don’t learn about the dangers of stress as often as we should maybe in some ways it is absurd. Let’s face it, our modern day culture while making advances towards this, still doesn’t care about our stress levels that much. This is why most people take the initiative and turn off the news. When we have any stress especially while digesting(if you eat three meals a day this would be most of the time) it can lead to malabsorption because even though your body can do many things at once, it doesn’t mean it is very good at it. I know this might sound like magical hogwash, but I would rather defend magical hogwash than I would the validity having preventable stress in my life.
# 7 – You can sustain joy.
The fewer things you have to be pissed off about, the easier it is to maintain your happiness. Simple as that. You could be triggered by the memory of anyone or anything at any time. If you value your happiness you better defend it at all costs. That would include removing all the obstacles you have in the way of happiness. Happiness is the absence of unhappiness as Chief Business Officer at Google’s X, Mo Gawdat would say in his book, Solve For Happy.
# 8 – You get more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.
We’re not going get tangled up in quantum entanglement(too much?) or the law of attraction, instead, we will visit the relationship patterns that we all have. You date someone who doesn’t consider your feelings in a certain area, or simply pick up after themselves or anything else that you don’t understand and it bothers you. You are now seemingly cursed with the same pattern in people for life. You always encounter the same types of loud voices at the coffee shop when you just wanted to relax. You can’t seem to escape the things you dislike the once you spot them. What if you let go of your strong emotions to the situations you disliked? Would they stop occurring around you so much? Is it worth the risk to even try? Maybe, you would only lose some resentment after all. The next time you are stuck and that lengthy stop light that always gets’s you, try being a peace with it and think of something else, something that is pleasant of course.
# 9 – You actually experience freedom.
I’m not talking about the freedom in the National Anthem that a fraction of Americans reference when asked about their country. This has to do with your ability to go anywhere you want, be around anybody, and not be stricken with anger and fear. This doesn’t mean you have to go to unpleasant, or unsafe places. This means you might get to experience a high school reunion, a family gathering, or just work without the same fears and annoyances. Have you ever avoided a store because the clerk was rude? You can add that location back to your go-to list.
# 10 – People like you more.
This one also combines the other reasons of course(It’s an article with a numbered list on wellness, how could it not?!) I think it has sound reasoning. You look better, you’re nicer, you’re happier. Why wouldn’t anyone like you more? You might not resonate with the old friends that complain all day as well, but if your not judging them they won’t hate you for it. The happier you are the more people gravitate towards you, the more acts of kindness come your way. We all experience going to a store and walking down the isle next to someone who is not a happy person, we just know. They didn’t do anything to us, often didn’t even look at us. The same goes for someone who is in a good place, we feel it. We can’t hide how we feel.
As a life coach I am constantly seeing what holds people back in life, and it isn’t what was done to them, that already happened. What’s holding them back about what they are doing about it now and that is building untrusting walls and standing guard. I need all the help I can get in convincing someone that forgiveness is key.
Forgiveness is easier said than done, of course, luckily for us, there are so many effective new therapies that actually help us process our emotions. EMDR is an eye movement technique that is getting popular with veterans and people with PTSD. My favorite method is a brand new technique called Cognomovement. I like it because I can do it alone at home, and it works. It has been proven to be very effective in helping people let go of stress, grief, anger, and fear. The process helped me dissolve my own PTSD symptoms. The whole technique requires 15 minutes and a little focus but when it comes to phobias, cravings or lifelong resentments that is a microscopic price to pay. It definitely sounds too good to be true. I love my cognomovement ball and I can’t recommend it enough. When we heal our trauma we heal the world.
CASEY MARLIN – PERSONAL LIFECOACH
Change yourself, change your life.