The Science And Strength of Forgiveness


For the bulk of my life I have been what you would deem a ‘grudge holder’. As much as it pains me to admit this unfortunate trait, I have enough insight to recognize it and the reasons for it. Our past life experiences related to abandonment, rejection and general insecurity cause us to build up figurative walls and when those past experiences are triggered by real or imagined wrongdoings caused by others, we often react by ‘cutting off’ a person or situation as a defense mechanism. We hold a grudge.

As I have grown older I have realized just how much this arguably immature aspect to my personality has really cost me. Holding grudges has caused me to end friendships, hold back in realtionships and miss out on opportunities all while accelerating my pre-mature aging process due to unnecessary stress.

We have all been wronged by someone at one point or another. We have all been wronged by people we love and trust.  Not all of us have the higher mind that allows us to easily forgive that person when we feel they’ve hurt us.

Yet the importance of forgivenss, of letting go of resentments and anger can greatly benefit us on both a biological and neurological level. Not to mention just make our days go a hell of a lot smoother.

Dr. Frederic Luskin, co-founder of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, an ongoing series of workshops and research studies at Stanford University has done extensive work in bringing to light the ‘science of forgiveness’.

He states;

“When you don’t forgive you release all the chemicals of the stress response. Each time you react, adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine enter the body. When it’s a chronic grudge, you could think about it twenty times a day, and those chemicals limit creativity, they limit problem-solving. Cortisol and norepinephrine cause your brain to enter what we call ‘the no- thinking zone,’ and over time, they lead you to feel helpless and like a victim. When you forgive, you wipe all of that clean.”

Pride plays a huge role in our ability or inability to forgive. Pride is also deeply associated with ego. Indira Ghandi calls forgiveness a virtue of the brave. It does take inner strength to let go and move forward with someone who you feel wronged you. But your health truly depends on it. When you work on your own issues surrounding reasons why you may respond to others actions towards you, you will be able to let go and feel light. Nurture yourself while building the strength to forgive and empathize with your fellow humans.

Your present selfand future relationships will thank you for it.

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