The Healing Power of Forgiveness
By: Professional Life Coach and Counselor Marcia Grimsley, BA, MS
“Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a different past.”
– Colin Tippen Ph.D., RADICAL FORGIVENESS
Now is the perfect time for making personal changes that can shift you into a healthier life. The forgiveness process is a force for healing interpersonal relationships and hurtful experiences. We personally benefit, because forgiveness can heal us, and create less division in our life, and in our community.
I would like to offer you some thoughts about forgiveness, both from my own history and from some well-known authors writing on this subject. It is my hope that the ideas shared here, will help you decide to move forward with this important inner work.
Forgiveness is usually two-sided: forgiving another and forgiving ourselves.
Sometimes people try to back themselves into the forgiveness process. Doing this may help us feel better temporarily. However, many times we attempt to forgive others, before we first forgive ourselves. This does not usually work very well. It can be very difficult to look at our own feelings of guilt or regret within the forgiveness process. These disturbing feelings can be deep within us. One example of this might be: Blaming our child’s school or teacher for his or her academic performance, rather than acknowledging our own contributions to this situation.
Assuming the victim role can also be a part of the forgiveness dynamic. An example of this type of unhealthy thinking could be: People are always cutting me off on the road or cheating me.
Neither of these mental perceptions will contribute to a happy life. They only add to our emotional suffering.
Forgiving does not necessarily mean we are condoning another behavior.
When we forgive, we are not making the statement that “nothing hurtful or unfair happened to me,” writes Rev. Marianne Williamson. This is essential to understand! We do not have to continue to be part of any relationship that we feel is unhealthy or harmful. Forgiveness does not mean that any specific action is necessarily required from us. It also does not mean that there was not a slight of some type. Forgiveness begins in our heart and in our mind. Any action we choose to take, as a result of the decision to forgive is a strictly separate activity.
Forgiveness can help to heal our physical and emotional body.
We can ask a hundred people, if we are on the right side of a conflict. We can ask a hundred people to forgive us, when we make a mistake. Neither really matters! The healing work is an “inside job” for each one of us. We are the ones feeling upset or attacked. It is up to us to choose our response. If we attack back, we may often feel guilty and stressed later. We then feel that we have to justify our actions, in order to feel better. This can require the exhaustive recounting of our hurtful experience for days, months, or years. It is up to us to decide to, either carry our pain forward, or release ourselves through forgiveness.
Medical science warns us that toxic thoughts and feelings can attack the body and mind. Over time, continuing this attack on our body may result in stress-related illnesses. Let us be responsible for our own thoughts and feelings, actions, and our own health and well-being.
The forgiveness process is not an easy one. It does require some self-confidence and self-esteem. Be courageous! Choose forgiveness today! It is a healing choice for you and can help to heal your world.
Life Coach and Counselor Marcia Grimsley, BA, MS and her company Life Advancement Coaching reside in Fredericksburg, VA. For more information or to contact Marcia, visit www.marciaslifecoaching.com. There you can request an initial 15-minute complimentary phone consultation to learn how life coaching may benefit you. Marcia works with clients locally and throughout the US. by phone. (Follow and friend Marcia on Facebook.)