To have the ability to forgive great wrongs done to us is something many people struggle with. To finally accept that continuing to harbor the same negative feelings against the person or group that has done us wrong comes with great liberation and peace if we have the courage to do so. When we think of forgiveness we don’t usually think of it as being something that we do for ourselves but this is exactly what we experience to be true and research has shown this to be the case.
As one of the aphorisms in my book The Creation of a Consciousness Shift states, “The benefits of forgiveness are greatest for those who are doing the forgiving”. To show you just how significant the personal benefits are of forgiveness for your own self, below are some statistics.
On average, people who practice forgiveness experience the following:
- 70% decrease in feelings of hurt
- 27% reduction in physical symptoms of stress, including backache, headache and stomach pain
- 27% reduction in physical symptoms related to sleeplessness, listlessness and dizziness
- 13% reduction in long-term experience of anger
- 35% increase in the level of forgiveness for the person who caused them pain
The greatest amount of people who forgave others expressed a significant decrease in their feelings of being hurt. The reason as to why this happens can be a result of a person releasing and letting go of the anger, grief, and sorrow that had been overwhelming them. The act of forgiveness effectively takes us out of the depths of the lower levels of consciousness and allows us to move forward in our lives, enabling us to be free of any excess emotional baggage and become liberated. Serenity, tranquility, and peace are now familiar feelings to us once again.
To understand how forgiveness can be such a helpful action to us a little more, think about this works: You simply forgive by letting go of perceptions, attitudes, thoughts and behaviors that are non-loving. Forgiveness is a key ingredient to allow your heart and your love to grow.
Forgiveness is the moment to moment experience of peace and understanding that occurs when our suffering is reduced as we transform our grievance against someone else. This transformation takes place through learning to take less personal offense, attribute less blame to that offender and by greater understanding, see the personal and interpersonal harm that occurs as the natural consequence of unresolved anger and hurt.
Forgiveness involves a sense of felt unity with the person or group that has hurt us. From the point of view of development, a sense of unity can be regressive or progressive. Looking back on my own personal experiences, I can say that healthy forgiveness is transpersonal. Healthy and unhealthy forms of forgiveness can be understood by examining the prepersonal, personal, and transpersonal motivations for forgiveness. The central paradox in forgiving is defined as the other needing to be recognized as a different person before there can be a healthy sense of unity.
Make it a focus to be kind, loving and forgiving to everyone; no exceptions. Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else. No one else even has to know about your decision. Recognize that your primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you two minutes – or ten years -ago.
Instead of mentally replaying your hurt seek out new ways to get what you want. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you. Allow forgiveness to become second nature for you.