Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Forgive quickly

Someone has hurt you.  You feel wronged. You feel sad.  Maybe it was just something little, or maybe it was something big.  There are countless ways that people can hurt us.  None of us are immune to it and its only natural that it affects us.

But sometimes we hold onto that feeling and don't let it go.  Every time we think about the wrong done against us, even that memory activates our sympathetic nervous system and puts us in fight-or-flight mode - a state of stress.  Now you heart races, your respiration rate goes up, and the parasympathetic nervous system is switched off.  It is only when we are under the control of the parasympathetic nervous system that we can heal our bodies. It is our self-repair mechanism.  The longer we are controlled by our sympathetic nervous system, the less time our body has to heal.

So holding on to hurt or grudges, and not forgiving others puts us a greater risk of chronic illnesses.

But its more than that.  Forgiveness is also part of our happiness.  Negative thoughts just encourage more negative thoughts - "you get more of what you focus on".

Not forgiving or being slow to forgive is really only detrimental to us.  We are the ones that suffer the most.

So think about those who have hurt you, that you haven't been able to forgive.  What negative payoff are you getting for holding onto that hurt?  What would it feel like if you just let go of it?  What might you do to forgive that person?  How much time have you wasted by not forgiving quickly?

And as we think of forgiveness and how people have hurt us - we also need to consider forgiving ourselves.  Looking back, we can all think

  • "gosh, did I really say that?", 
  • "Did I really do that?", 
  • "how could I have been so insensitive when I love them?", 
  • "I wish I'd kept my mouth shut".
And we occasionally get the feeling that we should just shut ourselves away  somewhere, so we can't do anything to upset people.  

We can learn from these experiences, but we can also forgive ourselves quickly too.  We are all flawed. None of us are perfect.  If we take stock of those times when we do hurt others and learn from them, we can forgive ourselves.  We can go easy on ourselves and try to be a less flawed person.

So lets not waste anymore time.  Let's forgive others quickly - and then forgive ourselves quickly too.


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