There are times in life when a good friend, a family member or even a mate can hurt your feelings by mistake, on purpose or thoughtlessness. Sometimes their bad behavior could be spiteful, selfish, or just being in a mean mood. On the high end, someone could have personality disorders, drug interactions or just plain retaliation or ‘place in family’. In today’s world, it could be interactions about political issues. You might take time off from these challenges of differences, or say you are finished with this person(s) and even hold a grudge.
I read recently that forgiveness is important in one’s life. Actually, it is good for you. On a health note, forgiving someone can improve your cholesterol levels, make you sleep better, reduce your risk of heart attack, lower your blood pressure and improve your relationships. On the dark side if you hold onto that grudge & anger, you can have heart problems, raise cholesterol, boost hypertension and even lead to depression and more stress.
A University of Michigan School of Medicine recent study showed that 2,000 middle-aged men showed that those who dealt with their anger had half as many strokes over a 7-year period as those who didn’t deal with their anger. How did they do that?
Forgiveness helps you take control again; it doesn’t mean you aren’t expected to trust the hurtful person or even continue your relationship with them.
But you can try some ‘Forgiveness Strategies’ that help you manage your anger & hurt.
- Reframe the situation in a different light: Don’t dwell on why the hurt was done to you but rather ask yourself “Why am I letting this hurt me?” And try to stop going over and over the initial hurt.
2. Give yourself time to come to grips with the hurt. Feeling the hurt allows healing to take place. It will feel like one step forward and one step back but take that one step forward & try not to go back.
3. Ask yourself questions as you would to a friend…”Did you play a part in the hurt situation or was the other person wrong?’ Is there another side to look at? What would or could you have done differently? If you can’t ‘see it’, ask a friend valued d or a fair family member for their feedback.
4. Did the other person involved have any idea what they did and how much it hurt you? Could it possibly have been a misunderstanding?
5. When remembering the incident makes you feel hurt again, focus on all the good things in life that you enjoy and neutralize the bad feeling.
6. I am adding one of my own ways to neutralize hurt. Pray for the person who hurt you and ask God to forgive them as He forgives us. It is somewhat difficult at first to pray for one who has hurt you but it becomes easier and the bad feelings do go away. Prayer works.
Some thoughts to ponder: Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and chose to forgive his captors.
In 1981, Pope John Paul II was crossing St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City when an attempt was made on his life. Two bullets struck the pope in his lower intestine, one in his right arm and one in his left index finger. The Pope met and publicly forgave the would-be assassin.
Jesus, dying on the cross after mistreatment, severe scourging, beatings & whippings, said the prayer, “Forgive them, Father; they know not what they do”.
In a book by Mark Miller, he states that the people who did best in tragic relationships were those who found “forgiving was a way to restore balance and peace in their own lives even if they did not condone the misdeeds.”
Sometimes the person who is hardest to forgive is oneself. Forgiveness helps you to take control again of your feelings. Give the hurt to God and don’t take it back.
Marie Coppola September 2019