Letting go and becoming happier
“We seek the divine creator to forgive our greatest sins, and he forgives. Then who are we not to forgive those who wrong us?” – Anonymous
Aren’t we too quick to point fingers and tell people where they are going wrong? Often we appoint ourselves as the authority on what is right. But we seldom would accept, acknowledge or seek to find our own wrong doings and blunders in our lives. Many of us are afraid to face the disgust of our own mistakes and sins. Yet we are always ready to make others feel disgusted of theirs.
We aren’t perfect nor is the world we live in. We are all wrong doers and often many of us are much more worse than we would like to accept. We do several immoral things in our own personal lives and chose to forget it or be secretive about it, but we will never give up a chance to blame others of their immoral actions or tarnish their character based on their share of mistakes and sins.
But there are times when we do realize and repent. Our conscience shakes us and our guilt consumes our pride and we set out to repent for our wrong doings. And when we set out with such honest guilt and sincerity we solely seek for forgiveness. Forgiveness from those we have done wrong to or from a divine source we place our faith in. But this is just perfect for us, our inner peace and our own emotional balance and health. Even if we do not get the forgiveness we seek, we find solace in the fact that we have repented in enough in terms of undoing our wrong and perhaps going above and beyond by being extra nice.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. ~Mahatma Gandhi
Alas we learn to forgive others we seek forgiveness from others when we do wrong. The petty mindedness of us fuels our pride and arrogance to stand against basic decency and humanity and hold grudges and anger against others. A very convenient position to hold that blinds our logic and sensibilities and stops us from realizing how we ourselves would feel if we were put in a similar position. When we are wrong we rightfully expect others and even God to forgive us of our mistakes and sins. But when the same is asked of us and life provides us a chance to reciprocate, we soon turn our arrogance and petty mindedness without any shame.
Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always make you less than you are.
– Malcolm Forbes
Several people spend a life time holding such grudges and refuse to forgive others. They choose to dwell in their hatred, anger and smallness rather than to understand life and reality, forgive and become greater human beings and move ahead into a much more peaceful and respectable life. We strain and loose several valuable years and time of good relationships in this one short life of ours. We estrange ourselves and let our anger and arrogance separate ourselves from our own blood and friends due to their mistakes and our inability to be mature and forgive. We lose our ability logically discuss, heal, understand, let go, and forgive in an effort to keep relationships. Instead we chose to forget all the goodness and good times we enjoyed from that person and judge the person with their one big mistake. Yet we will die of hurt when someone dies the same to us.
Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~Mark Twain
Forgiveness: According to the Merriam Webster dictionary to forgive is A) to give up resentment of, or claim to requital for B): to grant relief from payment of 2) : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON intransitive senses : to grant forgiveness.
Even though many people may say they have forgiven someone who has offended them, it nevertheless takes a long time to free themselves of the hatred and anger in their hearts. Their behavior tends to betray that anger. On the other hand, the forgiveness is required to be sincere. Because we need to realize the fact that as human beings each one of us are tried and tested in every step of our lives and we engage in a continuous process of failing and learning from our mistakes. Thus it is imperative for each one of to learn to be tolerant and compassionate as we will eventually expect the same from others.
I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note – torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one. ~Henry Ward Beecher
So why is it important to learn to forgive? Here is one scientific reason: According to recent research, American scientists established that those capable of forgiveness are healthier in both mind and body. The team of scientists and health psychologists studied 259 people. The scientists invited the subjects to attend six one-and-a-half-hour sessions, and aimed to instruct the subjects in forgiveness during their conversations.
The subjects of the experiments stated that they suffered less after forgiving people who had wronged them. The research showed that people who learned to forgive feel much better, not only emotionally but also physically. For example, it was established that after the experiment psychological and physical symptoms such as stress-related backache, insomnia and stomach aches were significantly reduced in these individuals.
For those who claim to be religious or live in a constant pursuit to become a better human being based on their faith systems it is important for them to realize that forgives is a major part of all faith systems in the world. Most world religions include teachings on the nature of forgiveness, and many of these teachings provide an underlying basis for many varying modern day traditions and practices of forgiveness. Some religious doctrines or philosophies place greater emphasis on the need for humans to find some sort of divine forgiveness for their own shortcomings, others place greater emphasis on the need for humans to practice forgiveness of one another, yet others make little or no distinction between human and divine forgiveness.
Here are a few examples of some leading religions and their ideas and philosophies about forgiveness:
Judaism: If a person causes harm, but then they sincerely and honestly apologizes to the wronged individual and tries to rectify the wrong, the wronged individual is religiously required to grant forgiveness to this person.
Christianity: Jesus speaks of the importance of Christians forgiving or showing mercy towards others. A quote from Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Islam: One of the names for Allah in Islam is Al-Ghaffur- meaning The All Forgiving entity. Forgiveness often requires the repentance of those being forgiven. Depending on the type of wrong committed, forgiveness can come either directly from Allah, or from one’s fellow man who received the wrong. In the case of divine forgiveness, the asking for divine forgiveness via repentance is important. In the case of human forgiveness, it is important to both forgive, and to be forgiven. In fact it is believed that a practicing Muslims’ pilgrimage is not accepted if forgiveness is not sought from those they have wronged against.
Buddhism: Forgiveness is seen as a practice to prevent harmful thoughts from causing havoc on one’s mental well-being. Buddhism recognizes that feelings of hatred and ill-will shall leave a lasting effect on our minds and eventually shape our destiny.
Hinduism: The concept of performing atonement from one’s wrongdoing and asking for forgiveness is n essential part of the practice of Hinduism. Repentance is the lay of Karma. Karma is a sum of all that an individual has done, is currently doing and will do. The effects of those deeds and these deeds actively create present and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one’s own life, and the pain in others.
“Forgiveness is God’s invention for coming to terms with a world in which, despite their best intentions, people are unfair to each other and hurt each other deeply. He began by forgiving us. And he invites us all to forgive each other.”
Lewis B. Smedes – Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve
Doctors have proved that forgiveness and letting go of grudges immediately and drastically improved your health and quality of life. Here are a few proven benefits of forgiveness:
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
So, how do you go about making the change and becoming a mature, generous and progressive individual by learning to forgive others? Well, it is a process of learning and understanding who you truly are and how do you want to grow towards becoming a better and greater person in life. It is easy to be like the rest of the petty minded people and dwell in your misery and hold grudges. But it takes a great heart and progressive thinking to learn, forgive and move ahead in life. Here are a few things suggested by the mayo clinic on how to go about forging people:
- Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
- Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
- When you’re ready, actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
- Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life
What stops you from becoming free of hatred and anger in life is often your ego and inflated pride. Which, we all are aware has never done any good to anyone in their life. The power of forgiveness is greater than that of hate and anger.