Have you ever had something jolt a memory in your brain? It may be a song that sets it off. Possibly a smell or a television program. A passage of a book. A phone call you let go to the answering machine. Old photos or letters you find in the back of your closet. The dented fender of your car. A conversation your mother brings up. Again.
For me it’s Ding Dongs. Those little chocolate cakes with the fluffy white filling. Without going into all the gory details, Ding Dongs symbolize for me betrayal, manipulation, abandonment, regret and years of working towards emotional freedom.
We all have stuff. Baggage. Issues. If you’ve been on this planet longer than a minute, it’s the one thing all people have in common.
Part of being healthy is dealing with your emotional baggage. Forgiveness is at the top of the list of difficult things to do when emptying your emotional suitcase. It’s not a natural reaction. It’s something we must choose to do.
Why should we forgive? We’re not the ones who did anything – it was them!
“When we are angry or depressed in our creativity, we have misplaced our power. We have allowed someone else to determine our worth, and then we are angry at being undervalued.” – Julia Cameron
Benefits of forgiveness:
- Lessens stress
- Lowers blood pressure
- Better sleep
- Lessens depression and anxiety
- Strengthens immune system
- Better relationships
- Energizes creativity
In the book Boundaries Drs. Cloud and Townsend state:
“To forgive someone means to let him off the hook, or to cancel a debt he owes you. When you refuse to forgive someone, you still want something from that person, and even if it is revenge that you want, it keeps you tied to him forever.”
The conundrum is when we hold on to hurts, we shackle ourselves to the person or event that hurt us. Our bitterness and anger have no effect on those who have offended us, but only drag us down and hold us back from living our best life.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you approve of the behavior or renew the relationship. You release yourself from its control over you. Easier said than done. Some days you have to forgive minute by minute. Forgiveness is a decision, but the healing is a process.
I believe forgiveness has not only been able to release me from anger and depression, but has released the writing that has been waiting to flow out of me for many years.
Get healthy through forgiveness with these resources:
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Forgiveness: Letting Go Of Grudges and Bitterness from Mayo Clinic