“We are supposed to move through our tragedies and challenges and to help each other move through the many painful episodes of our lives. By remaining stuck in the power of our wounds, we block our own transformation. We overlook the greater gifts inherent in our wounds- the strength to overcome them and the lessons that we are meant to receive through them. Wounds are the means through which we enter the hearts of other people. They are meant to teach us to become compassionate and wise.” Caroline Myss

“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, MD., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The John Hopkins Hospital. Chronic anger puts you into a flight or flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Forgiveness isn’t just good for the soul- it is good for the mind and the body!

Research points to an increase in the forgiveness- health connection as you age! One of the characteristics of successful, healthy and happy centenarians is that they seem to have the ability to be “quick to forgive”! They do not hold grudges or resentments. They seem to have an innate inner wisdom that guides them to “let go of negative emotions and deep rooted resentments”. Forgiveness calms stress levels and leads to improved health in mind- body and spirit.

Forgiveness is a gift that we give ourselves. It begins with a conscious choice that we make to heal. According to Swartz, forgiveness is not just about saying the words, it is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not. As you release the anger, resentment and hostility, you begin to feel empathy, compassion and sometimes even affection for the person who wronged you.

Studies have found that some people are just naturally more forgiving. Consequently, they tend to be happier and enjoy an overall feeling of well being. If you are NOT one of these people who is quick to forgive- FEAR NOT! You can train yourself to be more forgiving! One way to become more forgiving is to develop “Forgiveness Rituals”. Here are a few that you may consider:

  1. Meditation and Reflection- you cannot change the past, however, you can fully own the present moment. By spending time in prayer and mediation, you can begin to soften the edges of the past and live fully in the here and now.
  2. Journaling and Letter Writing- It helps to write letters of forgiveness to those who have wronged you. Take the time to share your feelings – good and bad. It helps if you are willing to take your own share of responsibility within the relationship dynamics.
  3. Empathy and Compassion- Try to understand why this happened, or why the person acted as they did. You aren’t saying what happened is right or that you are o.k. with it. You are simply trying to understand their perspective.
  4. Forgive yourself- In order to forgive ourselves for actions in the past, we must first be able to recognize that we are human beings who are all wounded and complicated. Try as we might, we will not always get things perfectly or right. Second, it is important to offer ourselves forgiveness and self love in order to free ourselves from the guilt that keeps us feeling separated from our true loving, creative and powerful selves. By keeping ourselves cloaked in shame and guilt- we also withhold our very best selves from the world!

Forgiveness is the greatest healer! It clears away the painful residue of the past so that we can come into full alignment with the power of the present moment! Who do you need to forgive? Everyone! Denise Marek, a contributing writer for Heal Your Life, says, “Take all your experiences and become empowered by them. You can’t change them, but you can discover something of value in them. When you do, you’ll be able to extend forgiveness to yourself and others. You won’t carry the barriers and the weights of the past—you’ll be free. You’ll be free to grow into the best person you can be and to create the best life for yourself. Begin today by forgiving for good.”

Here is today’s Vital Reset ReMINDer:

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My very best wishes for an exceptional day and to your long and vital life.