Wednesday, December 5, 2012
I have been thinking alot about the word "Forgiveness." What does it really mean to forgive? As humans are we really capable of forgiving "the wrong" that has been done to us. We go through life holding onto it on many levels- sometimes we think we have really forgiven, only to be triggered by something else to bring back the grudge that we hold. The grudge we hold is resentment and in this resentment - we are held back on so many levels from being the person we are capable of being. This is no way saying that the actual act is excusable, however holding onto that act- whatever it may be -can create life long issues for us in many areas of our lives.
What if we could be all that we really imagine ourselves to be? What if we take that time to really sit down and say to ourselves - Who am I ? Am i where i want to be in life - spiritually, physically, emotionally? What if we look and see that there are certain expereinces that keep repeating itself in various ways and those experiences hold us back from being our true selves. Sometimes those experiences are the cause of the resentment we hold - subconcsiously or consciously. Writing down what we really want to be and what prevents us from that is key to letting go.
My definition of Forgiveness is accepting what occured to us without judgement and blame so that i could move on to higher levels and planes. What is yours? How would you define Forgiveness.
Oftentimes we think we have let go - we think we have really forgiven the person, but an event can trigger the whole experience, the feelings, the anger, the resentment to resurface all over again, often clouding our judgement and preventing us from really viewing a situation for what it is. How do we move beyond that? Anyone in a relationship that was based on infidelity, to business transactions that are based on mistrust, to family disputes that often leave longlasting scars -all these mark us and hold us down if we hold onto to them and keep on brooding of the wrong that has been done. Yes, the wrong was done, but in order to move forward, we need to ask ourselves - what can we learn from it? What can that teach us about ourselves? And how can i not repeat that again? It is also coming face to face with the truth and accepting Our truth whatever is without judgment.
One of the fathers of research on the benefits of journaling is James W. Pennebaker, PhD. Here is an excerpt from his book, Discovering the Secret Life of the Most Forgettable Words:
“We began running experiments where people were asked to write about traumatic experiences for 15 to 20 minutes a day for three or four consecutive days. Compared to people who were told to write about non-emotional topics, those who wrote about trauma evidenced improved physical health. Later studies found that emotional writing boosted immune function, brought about drops in blood pressure, and reduced feelings of depression and elevated daily moods. While the effects are often modest, the mere act of translating emotional upheaval into words is consistenly associated with improvements in physical and mental health. http://www.utexas.edu/features/2005/writing/
A wrong act that has been commtted to us can be traumatic - and leave long lasting impressions on us that mark us for life. Writing about that event can help in releasing that mark. I will say that it is important to seek professional help for more serious symptoms as a result of a trauma and journaling can be in addition to that. Meditation also works wonders as do massage and exercise amongst others.
For those who have tried writing and feels like it doesn't help, perhaps the approach to writing and the prompts need to change. For some having open ended writing prompts works fine, whereas for others having it more contained with structured writing exercises help.
Some exercises that I have found helpful:
-Write a letter to your past self—the self that went through the loss or trauma—from your today self. What would you say to comfort her? What advice would you give? Offer your past self the acceptance and love that s/he needs.
-If you’ve suffered as a result of someone else’s actions, write about the event from his or her perspective. What was his/her background and what was going on in his life at the time? What does forgiving another person mean, and what would it take for you to forgive him or her?
-Write for twenty minutes, beginning with, "If that hadn't happened, I..." ...whatever comes up allow it to come and allow yourself to write about it.
- Write only what you can handle at this moment. Don't worry about grammar.
- Journaling a Dialogue with the person can also be extremely helpful. Write down a dialogue with the person noting the experience, the feelings, -the dialgoue is probably one of the most healing tools there are and often times you may have to do this more than once.
There was a beautiful article I read recently on Forgiveness - although there was no mention to journaling -it was a beautiful piece and hit the heart - so i wanted to share with you. http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=354..
If you have specific questions related to each of these exercises, please do not hesitate to email me.....