Researchers say the anger, resentment and blame people hold on to, often for years, accounts for a lot of today’s health problems, and learning how to forgive could prove to be curative and preventative.
“Forgiving and releasing old hurts from your system is like taking a mental and emotional bath,” said HeartMath founder Doc Childre. “Notice how people bathe their bodies on a regular basis, yet they will store negative, toxic junk in their mental and emotional natures for years without a cleanup.”
Negative emotions such as anger, resentment and blame can cause stress to build up in the body, and where there is excessive stress, there is the potential for all sorts of physical, mental and emotional problems. Most notably, elevated stress levels can impair the body’s immune system, putting you at risk for heart disease, chronic pain, and depression among many other debilitating conditions.
A Philadelphia-based nonprofit believes the failure to forgive, what it calls “unforgiveness,” is a major problem in the world today.
“We believe that unforgiveness is one of the most destructive problems of our day,” the organization, Release!, states. “Unforgiveness can ruin our relationships, rob us of our happiness, and even impact our physical health. Unfortunately, unforgiveness is also one of the problems that is most likely to be ignored and dismissed.”
“It is a problem, however, that people have the power to solve, by learning to forgive,” Childre said stressing that “it is not something you can learn overnight.”
“To forgive, you need to dislodge your judgments,” he said, “even before you fully understand why things happened, but most people want to understand why someone ‘wronged’ them before they forgive. It’s a Catch-22 situation. This is what makes forgiveness so difficult and why people so often fail at it. After a while it seems easier to live in a state of pout, disdain, or resentment than to try the forgiveness process again.”
Childre warned against approaching forgiveness as some sort of obligation.
“Forgiveness as an act of duty is not effective,” he explained. “It can leave you feeling as if you’ve done some good, but can mask over the problem, rather than release it. ‘I know I should forgive’ is not the same as forgiving, if there is no genuine feeling behind it. It lacks the sincere heart intent and commitment to release someone cleanly at mental, emotional, and cellular levels.”
“Don’t forgive with the attitude of doing someone a favor – it’s you who comes out the most by releasing the emotional baggage. Forgiveness upgrades your mental, emotional and physical well-being by reducing the neurochemicals that drain and debilitate your system.”
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
The following exercise, Childre said, can help you discover a deeper level of your heart power, where feelings such as compassion, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness reside.
- Think of a person or situation you have resented and want to forgive completely.
- Send all of the thoughts and emotions that come up in your head about the person or situation – this includes past associations, memories, anger, hurt, resentments, etc. – gently to the heart. As often as these thoughts or feelings pop up in your head again, simply send them to your heart, which is the clearinghouse for your emotions.
- At the same time, try to feel and send heart energy, love, compassion and forgiveness to the person or situation.
Special notes about the exercise:
- You may have to practice this exercise a few times to bring the old head thoughts under heart management. With heart management, you are actually contacting a different level of intelligence within, known as heart intelligence. Heart intelligence has the power to quickly release old resentments and hurts, change your perceptions and bring you to a satisfying understanding of the situation.
- Forgiving you can be the hardest thing to do. Often people feel that they must remember their wrong doings and beat themselves up for it, or they will not learn from it. The opposite is true.
Often people feel that they are doing good by sustaining self-guilt. This is not true and it creates a steady running stress deficit within our system. As we practice forgiveness from the heart, not just the mind, we clear the energy drains and reset our system for a fresh start. Sustaining guilt translates into increased aging which moves fast enough on its own.
It’s understandable that it’s hard to forgive yourself or others at times, yet it’s better for all concerned to do so. Keep desiring it from your heart to find resolve and added peace.