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.
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 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,
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