How Does #Forgiveness #Heal? #Anxiety #Peace #MentalHealth

Everyone has been done wrong at some point or another in their life. Maybe, even, you have even done yourself wrong. Whether you have been abused, spoken ill about, made fun of, or harmed yourself in some way, we all need to find a way to forgive and move on. Individuals who have been hurt, betrayed, and abused have the right to be angry and resentful. These are normal reactions and emotions when feeling the crushed spirit that can come from being disrespected or abused. If not dealt with, such angry reactions can damage personal health on several levels.

It’s easy to become resentful towards someone or yourself when horrible things happen but we need to remember that forgiveness is divine and it can actually heal and transform you. Just how does this transformation occur? Deepak Chopra explains what happens when you harbor resentment and what happens when you release this and forgive.

He states that when you have a resentment, grievance , feeling hostility towards anyone or if you have any of the other toxic emotions like guilt, shame, depression or fear , these emotions release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones have effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, and your mental health. Your immune system becomes compromised, even your platelets get jittery with the high levels of adrenaline and they start a harmful cascade leading to cardiovascular illnesses, panic attacks, depression, heart attacks, harmful relationships, and stroke.

Once you begin to forgive and let go the burden of judgment, everything settles down and your body starts to return to homeostasis, which is self regulation and self healing. This gives you a peace of mind where you can start to work on your own mental well-being

One law of physics is that for every action there is a reaction. So this means once you start to forgive and ask for forgiveness it is the best use of your own energy. It is also one of the best paths to start the exploration of self-healing.

Hostility is not healthy . . . it is the number one emotional risk factor for premature death from cardiovascular accident (stroke and heart attack). Hostility is an inflammatory emotion and causes physical inflammations as well. It is also linked to autoimmune and psychological disorders.  It is more than remembered pain; it is also rumination over a past hurt.

Learning how to let go of toxic emotions such as hostility is the essence of learning how to forgive, because forgiveness is basically releasing your attachment or identification with the conditioned response.

Here is a 7-step process that is known to work:

1 Taking responsibility for your emotion

2 Witnessing the emotion

3 Defining or labeling the emotion

4 Expressing the emotion

5 Sharing the emotion

6 Releasing the emotion through ritual

7 Celebrating the release and moving on

If you are holding on to a grievance or resentment and feel hostility toward someone, here’s what you can do.

1. Close your eyes and recall the episodes that caused you to feel this way. Recall the experience in full sensory mode, noting the voices, gestures and setting. As you visualize it, feel the sensations accompanying the experience.  You will usually feel a tightness or discomfort in the area of your stomach or your heart. At this point remind yourself that these are your emotions but they are not you.  You are responsible for creating them and you have the power to heal them.

2. Once you have located the discomfort in your body, feel it for several minutes. Ask yourself,  Who is most damaged by holding on to this toxic energy?

3. Having located and experienced the discomfort for several minutes, and having realized its damaging effect on you, give it a label. Define it. Is it hostility, anger, sadness, guilt, fear or a combination of all of the above?

These are the first 3 steps, taking responsibility, physically feeling it and then defining it.

4. The fourth step is to express what you are feeling in writing. It is suggested that you do this from three different perspectives. First, as you recall the experience, express in writing what you are feeling in the first person.  Having done that, express it in the second person, pretending you are the other person in the conflict. . . . And finally, express it in the third person as a neutral observer. When you express the conflict or emotion accompanying the conflict from three different perspectives you will find the toxic energy accompanying the emotion will begin to dissipate.

5. The fifth step is to share this experience with a loved one.

6. The sixth step is to release the emotion through a ritual. You could burn the paper on which you have written these feelings and offer the ashes to the winds . . . or to God. Ritual action is a way of trapping energy & releasing it effectively and bringing things to closure.

7. Having released the emotion, celebrate and do something fun, Go out exercise, see a movie, go dancing, whatever makes you happy.

Ultimately forgiving another is forgiving oneself. In forgiving we release the false sense of identity with which we have attached to a story about an event. When we release an attachment to a toxic emotion, we are freeing our self from that false sense of self. As we free our self from the illusion, we are really forgiving our self in the deepest sense. What we think we are forgiving in another is an act of freedom for our own soul. Every situation that calls for forgiveness is a step in our own growth to higher consciousness.

The good news  – your brain comes with equipment that  segues into peace and recaptures gratitude, hope and joy.  It’s rarely easy to pardon though, and has little to do with showing your side of a story in defense. Rather than recycle guilt,  see yourself – along with others – as worthy of care without demands for change as a condition.

Forgiveness literally alters the brain’s wiring – away from distortions brought about by the past,  and beyond fears that limit the future. It leads from misery of a broken promise, to wellness that builds new neuron pathways into physical, emotional, and spiritual well being.

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it changes the pain of the past, and unlocks the door to the future.

Revenge is natural. Forgiveness is supernatural.

Paul Carlin

What the Bible says about forgiveness:

While Jesus was teaching in Capernaum, he was approached by one of his leading disciples with a question on forgiveness. Peter asked Jesus how often he was to forgive a “brother” who had sinned against him, and offered up the number “seven” as a possible answer.

Jesus waved off Peter’s guess, responding: “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22, NKJV)

Once you forgive the person that wronged you and forgive yourself you will notice:

Decreased anger and negative thoughts

Decreased anxiety

Decreased depression and grief

Decreased vulnerability to substance use

I hope this helps you in some way, shape, or form. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.

Much love and abundant blessings,

Kimmy

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About kimmymc80

I recently started Without A Label as an outlet for me to pour my heart and soul into. I often blog about how I have dealt with or overcome many obstacles in my life like an eating disorder, abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and panic disorder. I would like to say that my blog is a source of inspiration for those that may be struggling with the cards they have been dealt in life. Here is some info about me: Born Kimberly Lyann Hearn May 8, 1980 in Houston, TX. I was blessed with a wonderful loving mother and a rotten, abusive biological father. In 1984 my older brother, Chris, and I were adopted by my "step-father" (I hate that term because I consider him my real Father) and became Kimberly Lyann McPherson. During that same time we moved to The Woodlands, TX and my little sister, Jennifer, was born. Growing up I always looked up to my "step father" (Ronald McPherson) as my real father. I have been completely blessed in the Family department. If it wasn't for my wonderful parents and a village of angels I would not be here today. God has shown me time and time again that He comes first and He is in control, not me. I find that I sometimes have a daily struggle with trying to take back control from God, but I always learn in some way or another that I am not the one in charge, He is! I would like to live my life as an example for Christ! I am so completely imperfect and a horrible sinner, yet Jesus still died on the cross for me so that I may be clean. I thank God daily for sending Jesus for all of us because I know how much I need it. Without God I Would not be here! Yes, I know it all sounds too good to be true but I'm being completely honest when I say that God has saved my life. Call me what you wish, it will not change the fact that I am a child of God. It was the peaceful angels of grace that comforted me during my hardest struggles and continue to watch over me from day to day. I can honestly say that I am a walking miracle!
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14 Responses to How Does #Forgiveness #Heal? #Anxiety #Peace #MentalHealth

  1. Pingback: How Forgiveness Can Heal | Kimberly McPherson's Blog

  2. Pingback: How Does Forgiveness Heal? | Without A Label

  3. Pingback: Meditation & Mindfulness for Healing, A Beginners Guide: Part Two; Tips and Tricks | Without A Label

  4. Bob Finch says:

    Hi Kimmy – I don’t know if you have already received a comment from me. I wrote one out and the my computer went haywire.
    Just to say well done for posting this issue on the counseling forum. As a Christian I know where you are coming from and the importance of forgiveness. The word Christ used when He said ‘Father forgive them’ as written in the Greek actually means to let them go.
    I work from this basis with many of my clients who might find ‘forgiveness’ difficult. I let the Holy Spirit do the rest. The change is startling.
    Best wishes
    Bob Finch

    • kimmymc80 says:

      Bob,
      Thank you so much for your kind comments and praise. I felt this issue needed to be addressed since I just forgave one of my childhood abusers. I won’t go into detail for I don’t feel that’s important. What is important is that once I truly forgave I felt an actual spiritual and emotional change happen inside of me. Since then my depression and anxiety has been much easier to handle and my relationship with God has gotten much stronger. I do believe that forgiveness is letting go, it does not mean forgetting but it does mean to let go and let God handle the rest. This has made forgiving others and myself a much easier process.
      Again, I thank you for your positive feedback, it is much appreciated.
      God bless,
      Kimmy

  5. Theodore Mars says:

    My understand is that because we in the carnal world are very fragile and imperfect and need Yahweh’s forgiveness through Christ, we to must forgive in order to be forgiven.

    • kimmymc80 says:

      Theodore,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and even more for commenting here. We are all in need of Yahweh’s forgiveness and love. As I like to say it’s Yahweh, not my way! I’m wondering, though, if one does need to forgive in order to be forgiven. As I have always seen it, as long as we ask for forgiveness see and mean it then we are forgiven. For it is the blood of Christ that was shed on the cross that allows this to happen. Since we are such an imperfect breed I know there are many of us that think they will never forgive or let go of the transgressions that have happened. Some of them never want to. I pray that these people are forgiven anyway. Maybe I’ll find out different once I get to heaven.
      Again, I thank you for your valuable feedback.
      Much love and God bless,
      Kimmy

  6. August says:

    I read your post, and I think Forgiveness and forgiving another allows one the freedom of being out from under another persons control – even when the other person is not aware that an individual is mulling a perceived wrong about them. Thank you for your post! August

    • kimmymc80 says:

      Thank you August, that means a lot to me. I apologize for taking so long to get back to you. It makes me so happy that you like this post! Keep coming back and checking us out. Hopefully you will find more that interest you. Thank you again for reading this and especially for commenting. You have a blessed day.
      Much love,
      Kimmy

  7. Well done Kimmy!

    I believe that you have done a tremendous job at actually defining the importance of forgiveness. Holding grudges will just tear you up from the inside leading to no actual victory and further causing problems. Being in touch with yourself emotionally will indeed help you control these problems. But, I feel that a very important aspect needs to be brought to the limelight. In real world, there are rarely any circumstances when we are able to control our rage or forgive others. For that we always need guidance from an external source, who can help us achieve the 7 points you have already mentioned.

    Having an impartial mentor or guide who constantly reinforces on the importance of forgiveness, being calm and evoking innate happiness, will definitely be an advantage in the long-run. After being trained to do so it can be possible for one to be self-sufficient and move towards glory and eternal satisfaction. That is also what I talk about in my own blog.

    Javier

    • kimmymc80 says:

      Javier,
      That is so true. A mentor is a great person to help you with these tools. I also left out how important it is to go through all of the emotions associated with being hurt before jumping straight to forgiveness. It took me over 30 years to forgive the one person that damaged me the most. It is VERY important not to push this on someone who isn’t ready, but when they are only offer it as a suggestion. I like to use the this is how I had to do it approach, that seems to go over best when dealing with clients. I thank you so much for taking the time to read this and especially for commenting. I will take a look at your blog for it sounds wonderful. Again thank you!
      Much love,
      Kimmy

  8. Clarice Ike says:

    Howdy! This blog post could not be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I most certainly will send this article to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!|

  9. Shenequia says:

    Well spoken…it took Forgiveness to bring me out of years of Depression. I forgave others and myself for hurting me and allowing hurt to even come my way. There is no Life without experiencing Hurt and Disappointment…it brings a Character out called Love…it started on the Cross of Christ and it should be repeated daily on our own Personal Cross…it is Finished! Great topic…great discussion…God bless.

  10. SisterWoes says:

    Thanks, Kimmy.

    My sister and I are trying to reconcile what has become a very toxic relationship. She feels I have caused her serious harm and am evading accountability, which is preventing her from moving past anger into forgiveness and poisoning many other aspects of her life. The problem is that I mostly don’t feel responsible and have already apologized for the instances where I do. Bi-polar disorder, severe loneliness, loss of a once strong Christian faith, and some very tenuous financial and professional situations definitely inform how she perceives the situation.

    Do you have any advice for how a person who doesn’t sincerely feel that they have caused the offense can still help someone they love through a forgiveness/reconciliation process? Advice or further resources would greatly appreciated.

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