The Power of Forgiveness

May 10, 2010

in Coping,Personal Experiences, Stories and Insights,Team Insights

I fundamentally believe we can all benefit from letting go of anger, whether repressed from childhood, or something we are dealing with now. Anger can be like walking through life with an anchor on your back, slowing you down and tiring you out, with the only person that is being affected is you.

I am not much of a person who harbors resentment or gets angry much if at all – so much so that I think I’ve been taken advantage of because of it. Most likely, I probably do get very angry, but I quickly repress it…in fear of confrontation or retribution. This is probably even worse for my mental health than the alternative.

So I did a little experiment. I turned my attention towards someone in my life that had hurt me. Never was I one to harbor much resentment against this person – much to the amazement of others – mainly because I was only a causality in the war she was raging against herself.

I decided to reanalyze the situation and how it might be impacting me now.

I took out a notebook and wrote down five questions:
1. I am angry that…
2. You hurt me when…
3. I felt scared when…
4. I am sorry that…
5. I forgive you because…

And for each question I wrote a few paragraphs. Being completely truthful and honest with myself (and her) I processed through 25 years of a difficult relationship. This was only a few days ago now. I also have read it aloud again to myself a few times. Processing…letting my mind hover over the emotions. It’s a process of letting go – forgiving those that have harmed you. Letting go of that weight pulling you down.

What did I find out? That yes, there was some resentment. There was also fear and shame and I could see ways in which it was impacting my attitude towards certain things in my life right now. Not worth it. I let go and told her that I forgave her. Did I feel some of the weight lifting? Yes. I even felt as if some of the current problems in my life seemed less important and that my capacity for changing my thoughts had increased. It was a very moving and powerful experience for me.

Is there someone in your life that upsets you? That can be like a lightening rod in your life? That maybe you blame certain things on? You might want to try this exercise. The beneficiary is not the person being forgiven, it’s the person forgiving.  It’s you.

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