Have you ever had your feelings hurt or been back-stabbed? Has an event or person ever made you so sad and bitter that you would never even consider forgiving them? You will usually keep going over such experiences in your head. Every time you think about it, you just become more bitter and build up more anger because of the occurrence or towards the individual who hurt you. It’s a proven fact that these pent up emotions are not good for your health. That is why forgiveness is the main subject of this blog.
Clinically speaking, forgiveness is when you get to a place where you can “release” a sense of enmity and an angry mindset towards the one who has hurt you. Forgiveness also has to do with eventually showing generosity, kindness and fondness towards those who have inflicted pain.
Anyone who has truly been hurt will agree that this is not easy to do. Experts on the subject will tell you it takes more time depending on how deeply you were betrayed and used. Despite all of this, you can learn to forgive, and I feel it’s necessary. Wanna know why?
More than 15 years ago, there wasn’t a single study on what letting go of past hurts did for our health. Today, we are grateful that there are numerous documented studies and plenty of physicians to shed some light on the subject.
Letting the Pain of the Past Go
First we can look at what happens if you remain resentful, confused, hostile and unclear about something that’s happened in the past. The Chief of Surgery at the Cancer Treatment Facilities of America, Dr. Steven Standiford talks about how remembering these sad thoughts makes one nervous and causes inner turmoil.
Naturally, this causes an abnormal surge in the cortisone and adrenalin levels in the body in turn decreasing the amount of cells that kill threats to the body. These cells protect you by fighting cancer. Stewing over a problem causes the body to continuously release cortisol can lead to serious issues. Choosing not to forgive will just make you sick and keep you from getting better.
Speaking of cancer, in a controlled trial study, 83 random cancer patients considered their levels of forgiveness, self-acceptance and pessimism after learning about forgiving yourself.
In line with what was expected, statistics showed that unlike the control group, those who took the course were far better at self-improvement, forgiving themselves and being accepting and had far less pessimism.
Forgiveness Will Set You Free
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14-15
Forgive to Boost Your Self-Esteem
It’s automatic for you to feel slightly ill or sick to the stomach when recalling an instance where you were disrespected, taken advantage of or betrayed. It’s been proven that the body responds physiologically or emotionally when these memories are brought to the surface. The following are possible symptoms:
- Muscle contractions
- Increase in Blood Pressure
These are indications that you are worrying or scared. These responses to stress are lower in those who learn to understand and forgive those who hurt them or did them wrong. There’s even more proof. About 1500 Americans who forgave reported feeling more satisfied and less melancholy, worry and fear.
Even after extreme emotional abuse, forgiving is of great benefit. Of two groups of women, one group did exercises such as validating their anger, working on interpersonal skills and standing up for themselves. The other group practiced forgiveness and were less depressed, showed a decrease in PTSD, had a better opinion about themselves, were less anxious and ultimately had better control of their life. Months down the line, the benefits were still there. Hooray! There is power in forgiveness!
Forgiveness is Good for Your Immune System
A controlled study surveyed 78 HIV patients to see what they thought about forgiveness, how it made them feel and how it made them act. Those who had truly been able to forgive had a higher percentage of CD4 immune-cancer killing cells!
Improvements in blood pressure and tone of the vagus nerve are other benefits of forgiving. Researchers can prove that forgiving protects the cardiovascular system, and that anger is toxic for it and damaging to the heart.
Forgiving Helps You Sleep Better
One study proved that when people in a group forgive each other, it helps them to get better sleep. On the other hand, holding grudges, harboring anger and enmity towards others increase the odds of getting poor sleep.
The list of benefits of forgiving seems to be unending while the same can be said for holding a grudge. Since you have the proof, work on forgiving those who have caused you pain in your life starting with yourself. If you are unable to do it on your own, then contact a psychologist or spiritual psychotherapist near you and get some help with this.
It’s time to lighten your load. It’s time to forgive. It’s time to break free from your past, let go of useless weight, and make room for a happy life now.
I Won’t Let You Go by Switchfoot [Lyric Video]
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
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