Why is it so hard?
According to the Oxford Languages dictionary, the word 'forgive' means to
stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
cancel (a debt).
used in polite expressions as a request to excuse or regard indulgently one's foibles, ignorance, or impoliteness.
I’m OK with the last definition, but man, oh man, has it been quite challenging to do the first two definitions.
Can you relate?
Has something happened, and you’re having a hard time forgiving, letting go, and going on with your life?
Have you noticed how miserable you feel when the person or memory comes back in your life?
Did you know it’s possible to make peace with the situation? To really and truly forgive and ‘let it go’? To see the person or remember (not dwell) on the memory without the overwhelming feelings rushing in?
And you're right, I don't know.
But I know that I've had to forgive people who range from 8-10 (with 10 being the worse) on the People-Who-Did-Me-Wrong Scale.
To begin the process of forgiving, letting go, and moving on with life- first, we need to truly understand how toxic unforgiveness is.
Let's look at WHY forgiveness is so important.
You may have heard that unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting the other person to be hurt. Yeah, it's kinda like that.
Let’s briefly look at the physical health effects of unforgiveness.
According to the article Forgiveness: Your Health Depends Upon It,
“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
"Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes, among other conditions.
Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health."
And in the article Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness they share the emotional effects …
"What are the effects of holding a grudge?
If you're unforgiving, you might:
Bring anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience
Become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can't enjoy the present
Become depressed or anxious
Feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you're at odds with your spiritual beliefs
Lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others"
And lastly, what does God have to say about forgiveness?
"For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses." - Matthew 6:14-15
When I was in high school and the guy I had a HUGE crush on hooked up with my "friend" while I was on vacation. Oh! That hurt. I was so angry with her and filled with bitterness and hate. Until one day, my Methodist pastor preached on forgiveness and the scripture above.
Ouch. I could feel Holy Spirit tugging at my heart- wanting me to forgive her. I knew that if I didn't forgive her, then … well, you read the rest of the scripture above.
I'd like to say that unforgiveness was never an issue for me after that incident. But, unfortunately, it was - usually in another form. Things like bitterness and resentment are close cousins to unforgiveness.
After years of constant negative thinking (on past or present things that upset me) and not resolving the reasons for the bitterness and resentment- my health suffered tremendously.
My health crisis is another story. You can read more about it here.
My health started improving because I made changes to my diet and lifestyle. Still, just as importantly, I made the decision (followed by action) to forgive, let go of bitterness and resentment, and make the most of some difficult situations.
By the way, forgiveness is NOT the same as ACCEPTANCE. It's also not allowing abusive or toxic behavior. (Check out this post on Boundaries and Acceptance.)
So how can learning about forgiveness improve your health condition?
Because it empowers and motivates us to make tough decisions so that our health isn't affected by unforgiveness.
Knowing that unforgiveness creates issues with our physical, emotional, and spiritual health gives us fuel to start the process of forgiving, letting go, and moving on.
PRO TIP: I've actually prayed, "Lord help me to be willing to forgive." Meaning I wasn't ready and willing to forgive. But I was willing (ready, eager, and prepared) to start the process. Baby steps.
The first place to start is knowing that it's vital for us to forgive and pray for help.
If the situation is too painful for you to do this alone, be sure to reach out to a trusted friend, pastor, counselor, or me. Be sure to check out the resource below that can help you get started on your way to forgiving, letting go, and moving on with your life.
By the way, sometimes we've been stressed so long, our bodies are depleted of the nutrients it needs to perform essential functions- like having balanced mental health.
A healthy mental state of being is part of the forgiveness process.
My favorite supplement for supporting a healthy brain is Neurolink by Designs for Health.
“The fast pace of the modern world presents us with sensory inputs that can overstimulate the brain, making it difficult to maintain balanced moods, emotional stability, and proper focus and attention. The myriad of psychological stressors we face can be challenging to process in a calm and collected manner.
The neurotransmitters that facilitate psychological health—including positive mental outlook, balanced perspective, and the ability to cope with everyday stress—depend on the availability of the nutrients they’re made from.
Neurolink™ is a blend of these nutrients, designed to support balanced moods, mental focus, and healthy responses to emotional stress. These nutrients are present in food, but during periods of heightened stress, additional supplementation can be helpful to ensure that the body has adequate amounts to meet its needs.”
-Neurolink Patient Education, Designs for Health
You can purchase it from my estore. Receive 5% off your order and free shipping!
Forgiving is important to our mental, emotional, and physical health. Many dis-eases can develop from a constant state of “fight or flight” (stressed out mode).
We can pray and ask for help to be willing to forgive.
Supplements can support our bodies when we’ve been stressed for long periods of time.
Carpe Diem (make the most of the present time)
Here are some steps you can do -- right now.
Pray and ask God to help you. Jeremiah 29:13
Forgiveness starts with a decision. A choice. You may not feel like forgiving- and that’s OK. Feelings follow actions.
Here’s to your health!
Stress Less Action Guide: Essentials Tools to Help You Triumph Over Stress
There’s a lesson on how to forgive in the guide.
Available on Kindle or paperback.
It is my goal to teach, encourage, and empower you to make health-promoting decisions so you can reclaim your life and health from stress or emotional pain.
Click here Work with Me to start or continue your healing journey.
Missy Rankin, CTNC, CHC
Certified Wellness Coach
Science and/or Fact-Based: I write blogs based on science and/or evidence-based information. I add my experience(s) and education where applicable.
Faith-Based: I may also add scriptures and faith-based information as well.
The information shared here is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as sharing of information only. Legal Policies
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