Forgiveness as a Stress Reduction Strategy

Forgiveness as a Stress Reduction Strategy

Even if you aren’t interested in the religious implications, learning how to forgive is worth doing.

We all get the advice: “Forgive and forget… Turn the other cheek.”  But when your blood is boiling over what happened and the injustice is over the top, it’s the last thing you’re going to think to do.  You want, with every fiber of your being, for that other s-o-b to realize how wrong he or she was.


That’s the time when  you need to know how to forgive the most.  Why?  Because that furious attitude is a source of massive stress.   The major religions of the world advocate forgiveness as a key to leading a holy life.  That’s not where I’m coming from on this.  Nope, I’m suggesting something far more mundane and selfish than that:

Forgivenss  is a key piece of keeping the stress out of your life.

Whether you adhere to a particular religion or not, forgiving is something you need to do.  Not because of your great love for all mankind (which is great if you can pull it off, but….).  Forgive for your own sanity.  Forgiving means you let go and move on.  Failing to forgive means you carry all that toxic emotion around with your for days….weeks….months.


But forgiving is a duet, right?  The other person also have to let it go.

Nope.  Forgiveness is about accepting what is and just letting it be what it is.  If it takes him (or her) longer to thaw, I still need to stay with forgiveness.  Not because of my feelings for him–those just make it even more important.  No, I need to stick with forgiveness because that’s where my own peace resides.

Forgiveness is not about “being right” or letting the other person “be right.”  Forgiveness is letting go of what happened for the sake of what you want to happen.  It’s about ignoring the whole idea that one or the other of you has to be “right.”

I want my life to be happy and calm.  I value contentment.  The most effective way to get back to that is to forgive whoever or whatever got me upset.

It doesn’t have to be about God.  It doesn’t have to be about being a good Catholic…Mormon…Presbyterian…Buddhist…or Muslim.  All it has to be is the acceptance of the uselessness of carrying around the garbage emotions of a grudge.

Forgive.  Life is so much better for you when you do.


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