This week I had the pleasure of teaching about forgiveness in my mindfulness class with 5th and 6th graders. I was amazed at how well they understood the concept of forgiveness and the way they approached hurtful incidences. While some said they cried and talked about it, others used sheer determination to prove the other person wrong, and the rest confronted the others and stood up for themselves. The common thread that I noticed in the 3 approaches was the courageous and self-compassionate choices that were taken to let go of their pain.
Let’s Learn from the Kids
Whether through tears or talking, the kids naturally had a way of taking action to feel better. We can learn so much from them. We adults tend to have such a difficult time at forgiveness that it’s costing us our mental and physical health. According to the 2011 study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, people who hold on to hard feelings have been shown to live a shorter life compared with those who make the choice to forgive. As a stubborn and proud person, I know that I am not perfect and can hold on to a hurt feeling like there’s no tomorrow. What I’ve came to realize, though, was that I was the one suffering and not the other way around. I was the one losing sleep, waking up with bags under my eyes, feeling cranky, and being miserable all day. It was I who was using this pain as an excuse to sabotage my diet or to use this ugly state to pick on the little things that I would normally tolerate. Practicing self-compassion has helped me tremendously. It’s helped me heal old wounds and made me healthier and happier.
Permission to be Human
As mentioned in previous newsletters I am certified in Positive Psychology, the science of happiness. One of the greatest techniques that I learned while studying this amazing field is self-compassion. Self-compassion has a way of helping us feel the pain while also giving ourselves a break. Self-compassion doesn’t mean that we are weak and the other is strong. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel any pain—it’s quite the opposite. Self-compassion is all about awareness, forgiveness, and self-love. It gives us the time to make the best choice that will make us feel better. It also reminds us that we have the choice to take the control back into our lives by letting go of what no longer serves us.
Forgiveness is the Best Call to Make
While forgiveness may not be the easiest thing for many of us to do, it is important to remember that it can possibly be one of the best acts of kindness and love that you can do for yourself. In other words, forgiveness is a choice that can set you free — it is the best call that you will make to become healthier and happier. Nobody can do this work for you. This is something that you and you alone must do to become happy.
Healthy Dose of Forgiveness
Just think about how much brighter and beautiful our world would be if people took a healthy dose of forgiveness daily. I bet that if people were to commit to a daily practice of forgiveness many pharmaceutical companies would be put out of business and doctors’ visits would go down drastically. Basically, forgiveness can put more money into your pocket and add more years to your life. Still not convinced? Here are some facts about people who tend to hold on to grudges. They tend to have higher:
- Blood pressure
- Facial muscle tension
- Heart rate
- Loss of control
The Call is Yours
In a nutshell, the call is yours to make when it when it comes to forgiveness. Hopefully, I’ve shown you that holding onto grudges is detrimental to your health. Let’s start learning from the kids and not hold onto the grudges so that we can feel better right away.
Next time you feel this frustrating feeling come on, try the following:
- Take a deep breath
- Go for a walk
- Allow yourself to feel the hurt
- Notice what your body is doing
- Say to yourself, “Permission to be human.”
- Repeat 1-5 until you feel better.
Remember to love yourself enough to make this courageous and self-compassionate choice.
If you need coaching to help you with forgiveness and self-compassion, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can work together to get you to your winning state of mind.