Why forgiving others is good for our wellbeing.
This week for me is about learning to forgive. About a year ago I came out of a 20 year relationship with my ex partner. The ending was not good as it often is, but sadly the split became more acrimonious and our dealings ended up in the laps of the lawyers.
As part of a normal grieving process we feel a period of anger, which can turn into blame. In reality the breakdown of any relationship is down to both parties and sooner or later we need to look at our part within that. It is from this that we can grow and whether our start a new relationship or we want to repair the previous one, we can try and avoid the same pitfalls.
But what if that anger does not subside and the blame and resentment does not give way to reason? Well firstly, Scientists tell us that blame is a way of avoiding guilt, avoiding responsibility and is a sign pain is still dwelling inside.
Brene Brown, the author of the Now Effect says that blaming others is a way of discharging pain and discomfort, but the downsides of this are the person also feels a lack of empathy and it can have a negative affect on future relationships.
Feeling bitter interferes with the body's hormonal and immune systems, according to Carsten Wrosch, an associate professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal. Studies have shown that bitter, angry people have higher blood pressure and heart rate and are more likely to die of heart disease and other illnesses.
So why should we forgive? Buddha once said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burnt.” Many Psychologists talk about forgiveness and its health benefits, forgiveness, lowers stress levels, keeps your heart healthy, lowers pain and blood pressure and extends life. Not to mention don´t we feel better if we can just let things go!
Now I am not saying forgiveness comes easy especially if somebody has treated you badly and they have contradicted your morals and values. But if we can learn to drop that hot coal out of our hand the health benefits as well as our psychological wellbeing makes it worth giving it a try! Wouldn´t you agree?
In my next post I would like to explore more on this topic and look at how we can learn to forgive another.