How The Act Of Forgiving Will Make You Healthier And Happier
The past couple years have been....interesting, to say the least. Being 23 when your parents decide to split (and in the most dramatic way possible) opens up a can of worms that will have you wishing they came to this agreement when you were idk, say, 2 years old? An age of non-remembrance and non-involvement.
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to be a shoulder to lean on for the people I love, but after 3 years of constant arguing, downward spirals, "choosing sides," and embarrassing public incidents, I collected a pile of resentment that you wouldn't believe. I mean, I'm only human. We all experience frustration and anger and if we aren't mindful about where these emotions go, they'll make themselves right at home inside of us, waiting for the opportune time to make an ugly appearance- like when you can't figure out why some forgotten extra vegan cheese on your sandwich warrants a total meltdown (love you, fiancé).
I've witnessed my dad go through the stages of sadness, hopelessness, anger, more anger, more anger yet, and finally start coming around to acceptance, hopefully making his way to forgiveness. Actually, I've watched as our whole family moved through similar stages, myself included. And I have learned a lot from this experience. A lot about what happens within our bodies and minds when we are holding onto that resentment and why it's so important to learn how to forgive, let go, and move on.
I know, I know. Forgiving and moving on- easier said than done, right? Listen to me- the only thing that makes this process hard is when we convince ourselves that we, for some reason, deserve the pain we are receiving. In my case, I got stuck in this endless cycle of resentment because I felt guilty. Maybe I missed a call from my dad at 3 am and felt like a bad daughter, or I spent time with my mom one weekend and felt like I betrayed him completely. Maybe I felt guilty that I wasn't doing enough damage control for the entire family (God forbid I put myself first on a given day, I'd contemplate for hours whether it was the right decision or not). My energy wasn't focused on forgiving, it was focused on all the reasons why I didn't deserve the freedom that comes with forgiving and letting go. And I resented my parents even more for that.
But we are worthy of bigger & brighter things. If you're coming from a place of self-love (and you should be, always), then it's possible, with a bit of mindfulness, to accept the things you can't change, those things that serve you literally no purpose, and let that shit go. By putting forth the effort to really forgive somebody and rid yourself of resentment, you will enhance the quality of YOUR own life, really! The act of forgiveness is so good for your mind, body & soul.
Here's the break down of the 5 most important reasons to find forgiveness-
1. It's Good For Your Physical Health
According to medical professionals, the act of forgiveness has proven to be rewarding for our physical health. It can improve cholesterol and lower risk of a heart attack, improve sleep patterns, reduce pain and blood pressure, and the most obvious, decrease levels of anxiety, stress & depression (hopkinsmedicine.net). Think about it, chronic anger leaves us in a constant state of fight or flight, which actually results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. These symptoms then snowball into increased risk of depression, heart disease, diabetes, etc. This is science, y'all!
2. It Will Make You Stronger
Ghandi said "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." Nobody said it was easy to forgive, in fact, it might be one of the hardest damn things we can do as humans. But in doing so, you build an unshakable strength. We gain strength from making it through the hard things in life.
We come out on the other side stronger.
3. Forgive Because You Will Be Forgiven
This is simply Karma at work. We're all human, meaning we're all going to make mistakes in life. The more you forgive the mistakes of others who may hurt you, the more likely you are to be forgiven for your own mistakes. In short, we get what we give.
And we release to receive…
4. It will attract new people and experiences
Holding onto a grudge means carrying around a negative vibe. We know by now that vibes radiate from us, and we attract the same vibes we put out into the universe. So drop the grudge and let your guard down. Raise your frequency and vibrations to attract those which you want in your life. Once you forgive, you are welcoming new experiences and new people into your life, whether you realize it or not! Don’t put your life on hold when someone lets you down or things don’t go as planned, there’s always so much more to explore in life.
5. Holding A Grudge Will Exhaust You
Resentment is HEAVY.. do you agree? Let. It. Go. Shed the extra weight of that grudge you've been holding for a year and the burden of lugging it around everywhere. I promise, you will actually feel yourself become lighter! It may be our mind playing tricks on us, but there totally is a physical weight that comes along with holding a grudge. Why waste energy on holding onto it year after year when you could be putting that energy into something good!?
6. Forgiving Will Improve Your Self-Worth
Forgiving somebody else is the best way to look out for yourself. Think of it as your own little way of telling yourself that you’re deserving of peace. You deserve to feel GOOD again. When we prioritize our own well-being, it boosts our self-worth! If our self-worth is low, we get stuck in this vicious cycle of hanging onto resentment for other people that only in fact hurts ourselves.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” — It’s the truth.
Reevaluate your self-worth. You are worthy of the freedom that accompanies the act of forgiving and letting go.
Think of a person or scenario in your life for which you may be holding a grudge. There is nothing stopping you from releasing that weight and the negative energy it carries.
Meditate on it.
In a comfortable seat, connect to your breath. Visualize the person who wronged you and allow yourself to feel any negative emotions that accompany the visualization.
Say out loud “I forgive.” And with each exhale, release those negative emotions along with your breath. Allow them to exit the body completely.
Notice the feelings that come along with that statement (I forgive). Sit with them. Do you feel a sense of relief? Can you breathe just a little easier?
Go through these steps for each scenario.
As always, sending love & light