“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” ~ Maya Angelou
The definition of forgiveness is “the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven”. Did you catch that? Forgiveness is an action. I think a lot of people say the words, but fail to take the necessary action. I know I’ve been guilty of that!
What about forgiving yourself? Are there things you’ve done or mistakes you’ve made that you’re still holding onto? How are those manifesting currently? Do you have digestive issues, chronic back pain, headaches, etc? Those could be physical signs you’re holding onto negative emotions that are not serving you.
For me, negative emotions/vibrations almost always show up as digestive issues and headaches. When these symptoms arise, I know there is work I need to do.
I once heard a great analogy about two men who each get bit by a snake. One man takes out his knife, cuts open the wound and sucks out the poison. The other man takes out his knife and runs after the snake to kill him. That man dies in the process of getting revenge.
Imagine the snake is someone who harmed you. Most of us chase after the person to make them feel the pain, show them they were wrong, find ways to get back at them, etc. But that poison is still in our veins and slowly killing us. On the contrary though, if we remove that poison and get to the root of the wound, we are able to move past and flourish. That doesn’t mean we absolve them of their actions and the hurt they created, but it does mean we step out of victim mode and face the feelings inside of us that were stirred up. When we are hurt, our typical reaction is to hurt back, so we don’t have to face the insecurities that were triggered in us. But what if instead, we got to the root of those insecurities and focused our energy on healing them.
Whether it’s someone else you need to forgive, or yourself, take some time this week to process and remove those poisons. Grab a pen and some paper, it’s action time!
Write “I forgive you for” and list out all the things you need to let go of and move past. If you are forgiving someone else, make sure to include their name.
Another exercise I use quite often in my coaching is writing letters. They never have to be sent, but it’s a very therapeutic way for you to get all your feelings out on paper. This is a free writing exercise. No one is ever going to read it, so be honest and say everything that needs to be said. Note: If you do want to send a letter to the person, I encourage you to write at least 3 versions before you send it. You need to process the hurt and pain and arrive at a place of healing first. Otherwise your letter will just be creating more hurt and pain for the both of you.
If you’re not convinced yet, get this! According to The Mayo Clinic, letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind. Forgiveness can lead to:
- Healthier relationships
- Improved mental health
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- A stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Improved self-esteem
As you can see, embracing forgiveness is a critical component to our overall health and happiness.
Here’s to another week of living your life by design, not by default!