We all know that a lack of forgiveness can cause you to dwell on painful emotions, but did you know that it can contribute to illness and make you sick?
Many thought leaders point to forgiveness as a way to improve every area of life. Could forgiveness improve your life? Who do you need to forgive?
Read on for more information and some easy exercises.
How forgiveness affects the body
According to Candace Pert author of Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d (2006), “If you experience a constant state of anger in your body over many years, holding grudges and not forgiving people for incidents that happened in your past, then you’re most likely using [that] energy to make antibodies, keeping yourself in a chronically inflamed state. As a result, you tax your immune system to overreact, aggravating autoimmune disorders such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.”
If you have a lack of forgiveness you may not be experiencing serious illness, but it will show up in some area of your life. Could those minor health problems or those aches and pains be related to a lack of forgiveness?
We may believe that all those small health issues are just a part of getting older, but Candace Pert tells us that “forgiveness, studies show, can be helpful in reducing inflammation and healing arthritis.”
Forgiveness is a small choice for big results.
First of all forgiveness, is not about condoning bad behavior or saying that it is okay to be treated poorly. It is about letting go of the past so that it no longer harms you.
Does holding on to a past hurt really affect the other person? Think about it. Holding on to the past only hurts you.
1. Make a list of all the people you need to forgive.
2. Take each person in your mind and say “I forgive you. I release you.” Take your time. Forgive one person each day.
3. If you have a lot of unfinished business with someone, you can write them a letter and say what you need to say. DO NOT mail this letter. This exercise is about your healing.
You may be surprised with the results. David Simon, who wrote Vital Energy: The 7 Keys to Invigorate Body, Mind & Soul (2000), says, “We must unburden our hearts of the pain and disappointments from the past so we can live more fully in the moment.”
What about you?
Now that you have thought about everyone else, is there one more person you need to forgive? Have you forgiven yourself? Forgiving yourself may be the most difficult step in your journey.
Here are some steps to forgiving yourself:
1. Acknowledge any behaviors from your past you are not proud of.
2. Make a vow to yourself to never repeat this behavior.
3. Ask yourself “What would have been a better more compassionate choice?”
4. Now, forgive yourself and release the past.
What about those stubborn issues that resist forgiveness? If you have issues from the past that just won’t budge, you can use the poetry of emotion process to help you. The poetry of emotion process heals your mind, body and spirit.
Are you ready to change your life?
(Image: Neville Nel @ Flickr)