According to my 365 Quotes Page-a-Day notepad, July 8th is Global Forgiveness Day. The little notepad told me I should take a moment, even if privately to forgive someone who had wronged me. While I don’t currently hold any major grudges in my heart, there are always little upsets where forgiveness can be practiced. I have certainly had to practice ways to forgive at great length in the past. We all have at some point or another. Responding to malicious behavior with kindness or indifference can be one of the most difficult things to do. When faced with this challenge, here are some reasons and to Forgive, not forget, but to let go and move on!
1. “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” When you are having a hard time letting go of the pain, sadness or suffering remember that the person may not be worthy of forgiveness, but you are worthy of being free from this negativity! When you let go of the anger, the power is back with you and this person has no control over you anymore.
2. Letting go of anger can help you live longer. There are numerous studies supporting the fact that being angry, bitter and resentful can shorten your life. Murray Mittelman lead an investigation questioning whether greater levels of anger meant greater levels of heart attack. His group analyzed almost four thousand individuals who had experienced a heart attack. They found that 38 percent of the participants had had outbursts of anger in the year before their heart attack. It you want longevity, vitality and overall good health, release the hurt, fear and pain and move on.
3. The bible says “Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37. Not to get all spiritual on you, but sin is sin and if we want to be forgiven for past mistakes, bad choices and sneaking that dark chocolate covered almond or 5 from the bulk bin then we must also forgive! It’s not up to us to judge and thank goodness for that. Try to tell the story or see it from their perspective. Mentally send them well wishes. Practice forgiving others and while you’re at it, practice forgiving yourself.
4. If you didn’t like the last one, then this one might be really hard to swallow: everything happens for a reason. Anytime we are faced with some great hurt or wrong doing we are forced to automatically look inside. We get a chance to break down the situation piece by piece and perhaps ask ourselves what we could have done differently. Maybe you find out some good lessons about yourself or perhaps you walk away thinking that you did everything right and the other person is a complete whack job. But either way, things have changed and hopefully, at some point you see, for the better.
Moving on and letting go can be a hard and trite concept. Yoga icon Kathryn Budig practiced forgivness publicly and said it best recently in an instagram response to some negative and hurtful social media comments: “I’m confronted daily by loving, inspirational comments AND negative, aggressive and hurtful ones. It’s the nature of the beast…..If you put yourself out there, someone is bound to drag you over the coals. This will never change, but it’s important to know that just as much if not MORE love is present. It’s not always as noisy or flashy, but it’s there.” Remember, forgiving does not mean what happened was okay and it doesn’t mean that you have to trust the person who wronged you or even associate with them. Finally, if for nothing else, moving on, living a successful life and finding happiness is the best revenge you can ever have on someone who has wronged you. Let go, move on and starting enjoying your precious life now!
Source: Mittleman MA, et al. Triggering of myocardial infarction onset by episodes of anger. Circulation, 1995;92:1720-5
Photo – shutterstock.com
Jenn Bodnar is co-founder of Yoga Digest Magazine and has a genuine belief that yoga can benefit everyone. She is 200ERYT having attended multiple teacher trainings, facilitating yoga teacher trainings and studying and practicing yoga since 1999. Jenn is an avid fitness professional, who has taught and managed group fitness for many years. As a former competitive triathlete, gymnast and dancer Jenn loves the balance of strength, flexibility, perseverance and freedom that a yoga practice provides. She loves being active and outdoors with her family and friends. Jenn is a self proclaimed health food chef who hopes to leave a positive footprint by inspiring others to always choose happiness. “Watching people grow through yoga is one of the most amazing miracles to witness.”