It’s just a few days before the end of another year, and in fact, we are soon to be entering a new decade. That being the case, now is the time to clear the slate, hit the refresh button and heal your hurts from the year and decade just passed. We all have them. What we don’t all do, much to our own detriment, is to use the most effective healing, cleansing and renewing strategy there is. That is to forgive; ourselves and others.
I’m sure someone, or more than one person has said or done something this year that has hurt, angered or upset you. I’m sure, even without realising, you have done the same to other people. My question to you is; if you unintentionally did or said something that hurt someone in some way, do you feel you are worthy of being forgiven? The answer to that is, yes, you are? That being the case, if someone unintentionally did or said something that hurt you in some way, then doesn’t it seem fair they are also worthy of being forgiven? The answer to that is also; yes!
What if someone does something to you that they are not sorry or repentant for, are they worthy of forgiveness, or is it okay to stay angry, bitter and resentful towards them? The bottom line is that you get to choose whether you release it through forgiveness or whether you carry it around with you. Just know this; anger, bitterness and resentment are only hurting one person, and it’s not the person you’re angry with. I love the saying that anger, bitterness and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Yes, these dangerous emotions are poisonous and will kill you. They will shut down your immune system, damage your DNA and cause destructive neural pathways in your brain. Whether the feelings are towards other people or towards yourself.
There is only one antidote to the damaging effect of anger, bitterness and resentment. It’s not just an antidote to stop the damaging effects, but one that will enhance healing, strengthen you physically, build you emotionally, and, one that will help you live a purposeful life of joyful longevity. You know what that antidote is, don’t you? That one thing is forgiveness. I’m not even talking about justifiable or rational forgiveness, I’m talking about illogical, unreasonable and unconditional forgiveness.
Sound tough? Maybe, but wouldn’t it be tougher to live a damaged and unfulfilled life due to unresolved anger, bitterness and resentment? The powerful solution is simply a matter of shoving your ego in your pocket, getting off your high-horse and forgiving. As we come to the end of 2019, I really want to encourage you to be the one who is the bigger person and forgives, even if you don’t feel like you, or, the other person deserves it. When you do forgive, you will feel and incredible weight lift off your shoulders and a lightness appear that will help you launch into 2020 with power, positivity and purpose.
Forgive and watch what happens!
In the week before Christmas, I was speaking for an organisation about my regular thing; creating and living a life of joyful longevity. In this talk, I discussed the power of our emotional state in terms of its impact on our physical wellbeing, our happiness and our longevity. I referred to a study that was done on fifty people who had lived joyfully and purposefully beyond 100 years of age, to find the common theme to their quality and quantity of life. Above all else, the two things that stood out most prominently, as having the greatest impact, were gratitude and forgiveness.
After the session, I was approached by a very cheerful man who came to thank me for my talk and agree with what I said. He then told me a story, which left me in awe and totally inspired. Many years earlier, he had been involved in a very serious car accident which left him just barely hanging onto his life. He was side-swiped by very negligent driver, and had every reason to be bitter, angry and resentful. As he was lying in a hospital bed with plaster, braces, tubes and machines holding him together and keeping him alive, he made a decision I’m not sure I would have made had I been in his situation. This decision not only saved his life, but helped him recover fully and heal in a period of time that doctors found it hard to explain from their medical perspective.
That decision was to forgive the driver who caused the accident and to be grateful for the fact that we was still alive. He explained to me how, as he lay in that bed with negativity, sickness and death all around him, he chose to think of the positives and what he was grateful for. He was grateful when he could breathe on his own. He was grateful for when he could sit up. He was grateful when he could take his first unassisted step. When he thought of the negligent driver, he felt forgiveness and empathy. He explained that this mindset helped him to heal much quicker. In fact, he told me how there were other people around him, with far less severe injuries, but a negative, victim-minded and blaming attitude who took much longer to recover than he did, despite his critical condition.
He is now fully recovered and explained to me how he has created the habit and character of seeing each day as a precious gift, being grateful for his life and being easily able to forgive others. He not only lives this way personally, but as I discussed in last week’s blog, he shares his positivity with other people, and it ripples out to impact many lives. He smiles at everyone, says hello to passers-by and is the first to offer help when it’s needed. After just a few minutes of talking to this man, I felt light and inspired. My intention when I went into that room was to inspire others, which I hope I did, but I walked out feeling like I had been the recipient of amazing inspiration.
For me, the first thing I did, as I left that day, was to smile at everyone I walked past who made eye-contact with me. I then sent some messages to people whom I am incredibly grateful for. I then chose to forgive some people, starting with myself, who deserved to be given a break. I felt, and still feel amazing. What about you? What have you got to be grateful for and who do you have to forgive? As this year comes to a close and a new year and decade is about to start, can I suggest you start it renewed, and, with a clean slate? What are you carrying around that is making you sick or keeping you in a bad place? Isn’t it time to spit out the poison and swallow the antidote?
For your own benefit, your life and for the sake of the people most important to you, take the antidote for 2020. Forgive, even if it makes no sense to forgive. Be grateful even if you feel there’s nothing to be grateful for. These are the two most freeing and healing emotions there are and will have the greatest positive impact of your life. Start your list now, of the things you are grateful and the people you are holding any anger, bitterness and resentment towards. Then, on the stroke of midnight as January 1, 2020 appears, feel the gratitude and release the hurt through forgiveness. Nothing will help you have a better 2020 than this simple decision. In the new year, enjoy the healing power of forgiveness.