How often have you been driving and seen someone driving in a rage? How about you, do you fly into a rage when you are driving? Do you find yourself being angry and having that anger well up inside you immediately? How about headaches and muscle aches? Do you have depression or sleep problems? There could be a reason for this that is hard to believe, that is unforgiveness.
Many things happen in our life that creates fear which is the basis for anger. To give you an example from my own life, one day when I was in the second grade and walking to school, I was confronted by a pair of older twins who were about 12-years-old. They took my lunch. I had nothing to eat for lunch that day. When they confronted me I was scared out of my wits. As I got older I prayed to run into them again. For a long time that was a base of anger for me although I did not know it.
That is a big problem for most of us in that we have not moved on from little things like that though they were big at the time. Again, in the sixth grade I was the starting “strong-side end” on our football team. However the quarterback hated me. So when the teacher asked him to post a list of the “football starters” he left me off. That was 50 years ago but it is with me today. I worked hard to make that team.
The problem with situations like that is we hurt no one but ourselves.
Is there anything you can do? Yes!
Health Systems has developed a five-step plan for dealing with forgiveness and the value it places on your health.
First you should forgive yourself. Perhaps there is a decision you made that hurt the family or a decision you made that hurt your parents. Perhaps you made a decision that hurt you economically. We sometimes carry that around with us. We must first forgive ourselves.
The next step and this was perhaps the hardest step for me was to forgive others. I tend to carry a grudge and feel you cannot “un-ring a bell.” I think “There is nothing they can do for me now but that is not true.
Allow people to forgive you. It takes humility and strength to allow someone to forgive you. The reason is that you have to admit you did something wrong and you must be contrite. It is very difficult.
The fourth point of their plan is after you have forgiven someone else is to then wish them well. I have a lot of trouble with that. It turns out the twins I knew about did some jail time and I would not be honest if I did not add that I was doing emotional back flips. However, that was not the healthiest thing to do and I paid for it physically.
Finally learn the lesson. Understand what happened. You have an opportunity in forgiveness to learn something about the human nature and human psyche.
As I mentioned earlier, failing or refusing to forgive hurts you way more than anyone else.
“Forgiveness and Your Health,” Article, Katrina R. Schurter, MA, LCPC