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How Important is Forgiving?

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Written by   51
1 year ago

Forgiving – Macho Or Not?

Let’s admit it – forgiving is for the lame and powerless, isn’t it? The vast majority would believe this narrative as that’s what movie-after-movie from Hollywood to Bollywood teach us. Revenge is the only way to show our strength and every other way is lame. In fact, we ended with phrases like “revenge is best served hot” to undermine the idea of forgiveness further; whoever came up with that. 

But those of us who have taken revenge or witnessed someone taking revenge, have you seen them at peace? Chances are - no. The idea of revenge doesn’t quell what was done but aggravate it. The knowledge seekers of the world – starting from multiple generations ago knew this, and that is why they preached forgiveness.

All the Holy Books of the world, the Bible, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita and others talk about forgiveness as one of the essential tenets of human life, and yet that is what we ignore. Because, sadly, even the Holy Books don’t seem to rhyme well with the idea of machoism, so they would also be considered as something close to lame. Sadly.

But if we can provide scientific evidence to show that forgiveness heals the forgiver, then would it cut ice? I guess so because science is closer to machoism than anything else. Right? Or maybe not. But let’s try to peel off the underlying emotions supporting revenge versus the ones supporting forgiveness. That would be a good start.

Forgiving – Ourselves Or Others?

Before getting to know more about forgiveness, the question that arises is whom do we forgive? Us or others. When I first heard this question, it sounded awkward to me since there was no way I could forgive me. I haven’t done anything against me to be forgiven by me. That’s what I thought, but over the years, I see the merit in forgiving ourselves.

 

When you feel emotions like guilt, sadness, hatred, you are actually at odds with yourself. Let’s take an example. Your daughter or son has to appear for her/his exams, but you are busy reading a newspaper. You think there is enough time to drop him/her to school. Despite your wife’s and daughter’s/son’s repeated requests, you ask them to chill and wait. You know things are in control.

 Anyway, as you leave from home, you encounter unexpected traffic on the way. A truck had turned turtle, and now your son/daughter is indeed late. By the time you wriggled through the traffic and reached the school, your child has already lost an hour of the exam time. You see, his/her anxiety, fear and the urge to get in the exam hall and start the paper. You know somehow you were responsible for what your child is going through. How do you feel at that time?

Horrible? Or even guilt, correct? In this situation, you wouldn’t expect your child or wife to forgive you willingly. In fact, you wouldn’t even think about asking their forgiveness since you are drowning in your guilt already. You are feeling torn with guilt. So, then question is, who needs to forgive you? You or someone other than you?

Is it someone other? Maybe, but first and foremost it has to be you. You need to forgive yourself as you did not intend this to happen to your child. You wouldn’t have ever thought of causing this to your child. Without you forgiving you, even if your child forgives you (which I suspect kids would automatically do for their parents) and your wife forgives you, you wouldn’t be out of guilt still. The chances are that you would be wallowing in the sea of guilt unabated. That’s why you need to forgive yourself so that you can learn from the episode, love yourself, and be a responsible person going forward. Do you see that? Have a read once again to get the message.

 Now, if you understood this part then you know forgiving others is just as good as forgiving yourself. When forgiveness becomes a habit, you realize that it is one of the most potent forces out there and more macho than anything you ever knew.

 Forgiving – The Science Behind It

Now, for the scientifically inclined, the absence of forgiveness leads to emotions like guilt, anxiety, depression, anger, resentment, and hurt. These emotions are closely related to lower serotonin levels in the brain than usual. The continued feeling of these emotions could trigger the release of cortisol or stress hormones into our body, further aggravating our health. Stress, further, comes with its own set of choicest ills like high blood pressure or heart attack.

So, there you go, that’s what science says. Of course, it is not like if you don’t forgive today, you will die of a heart attack tomorrow. The message is that you cause health trauma on yourself, just because you chose not to forgive. Why would you not want the freedom that forgiveness gives? Why would anyone want revenge and even after revenge stay stuck in negativity for life?

The entire episode of non-forgiveness just defies logic, and yet people hang the idea of revenge with pride on their front door. Why? You are in the best place to answer that for yourself. But do answer that question and it will open up a life of freedom.

 

Forgiveness Brings in Understanding too

Well, most of the people I have encountered have issues with forgiveness because it is akin to accepting the injustice done to them. But nothing was farther from the truth. Many times forgiving allowed empathy to flow in, and we were suddenly experiencing ourselves in the other person’s shoes. By acting in understanding, your response to the other person is kinder. Now, the other person gets and feels your kindness, and guess what, he or she too reciprocates.

So, by forgiving you not only freed yourself but also won the kindness of another person. All by just forgiving. How can this not be the thing to do?

As I mentioned before, a movie on revenge would do a lot more at the box office than a movie on forgiveness. So, don’t expect the directors and producers of this world to stop trumpeting the idea of revenge, but you need to know where entertainment ends and where real life begins. When it comes to real life, forgiveness is the champion. And as you practice forgiveness, you allow many more to follow in your footsteps.

As you allow more people to follow your idea of forgiveness, you may inspire some producer to make your life story. And guess what, we may end up having a movie on forgiveness, after all. 😊

Give It a Good Thought

So, do yourself a favour and start practising forgiveness to live a healthy and meaningful life. More importantly, a life where you have freedom of mind and body.

Practice forgiveness, and as practitioner myself, I can tell you that you will never regret it. Also, remember to forgive yourself too!!

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 Image Courtesy: Master Isolated @freedigitalphotos.net

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Written by   51
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Comments

True that, StarLord! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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1 year ago

This is great for my SST: Columnist community.

What if I forgive someone but they keep in bugging me and never stop taking advantages of the kindness given. Is it called revenge if I stay away and never lend a hand again? I always said that I can forgive but I can't forget because I do not want to be in the same horrible situations over and over again.

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1 year ago

Staying away is not equivalent to revenge, I can vouch for that.. I am not sure if you are religious @heartbeat1515, but if you think about it, Jesus left the place where he wasn't welcome. So, leaving and let go in that sense would be the same. Basically, you are being mature.

Now, the thing about - "you forgive but the other person keeps on bugging you". Trust me, I wanted to speak about that here but then realized that it would be a topic in itself. However, I did cover one part. Till the time you feel bugged, you are looking at that person in just one mode (or one perspective). The idea of forgiveness brings in the aspect of empathy and you are able to look at the person from few other perspectives (generally better ones). Based on that, you may even choose to leave that person alone and move away. But more often than not, because of your change in perspective you would have found a new way to deal with him or her. Remember, being bugged is not him being the problem but you reacting to the problem. I know in few words I have put the onus on you.. but hey, when your life is about you that's when you get stronger, right? Otherwise you will keep on believing that everything and everyone around you can make you work in a particular manner. In doing so, you condemn yourself to powerlessness.

Now coming to the last part and this is about - forgetting. I do not know if you have heard of the concept of the law of attraction, which states that like attracts like. So, if you do not wish to forget and even move away from the so called bugging person, guess what, since you haven't forgotten you will be attracting more and more people exhibiting the same "bugging" characteristics. So, the idea of forgetting is to let yourself free and not the other person. You will do yourself a great service if you forgive and forget. If you are not convinced with the "law of attraction" then take medical science. So long as you have had an experience for quite long (bugging in this case) your neural pathway is stronger in noticing, experiencing and reacting to that characteristics. If you do not forget, you continue to keep that neural pathway stronger and over a period of time you will be reacting in the same manner to other people too. When you forget and allow a new habit (for the lack of a better word) take its place, you make the earlier neural pathway (bugging) weaker till it completely vanishes after some time. So, even if you meet these "bugging" people after that, your brain does not react as you did previously. That's the idea.

It was a rather long response, but I do hope I answered your question.

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1 year ago

It is definitely very long replies and it did answer my questions. It somehow gives me relief. I am not sure if I am religious but I do have faith even though I am not the one that goes to church.

I like the concept of forgiving and forget. I agree that it will change my perspective if I encounter the same situation again. Probably it will turn me into an extra cautious person for my own safety.

I had a conversation with another friend and she said that "If you did not give that person a lesson, that person will be doing it to another person because you let him go with rewards."

'That person' steal my money that I want to use to finish my house and because he steals it I am unable to finish the house. I have to earn money again.

I believe that God is fair and He will be able to give 'that person a lesson way better than I can but because I let him go, he is doing the same thing to another friend'.

What do you think of this situation? I can still forgive but what happens to the consequences of my action?

A long replies deserve a replies that are sufficient.

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1 year ago

Hello heartbeat1515

Missed replying to your message. Bro, you are supposed to forgive but not at the face of injustice. Look, the feeling of forgiveness should make you feel stronger and powerful, not a victim.

In this case, clearly you are feeling like a victim. In such cases, you will find it hard to forgive and live with yourself. Besides, if you are seeing someone doing wrong to your friend, you will have to intervene. The person needs to be set right - either through the law of the land or through you intervening, whichever works well. Once that happens, and you no longer feel a victim, that is when you are truly in a powerful position to forgive.

Remember and remember well, forgiveness gives you a sense of closure and powerfulness... If you feel like a victim, unhappy, stressed and still at odds at the other person, you may have to revisit the scenario. DON'T ACCEPT INJUSTICE under the guise of forgiveness. That does not work very well. Because not only are you unable to forget what happened to you but also feel bad and odd with yourself for forgiving that person. That's a double whammy.

If you talk to the person and the person chooses to let go off his way, then great. You have done something good for you and for him. From that space, forgiving is a better solution. I hope you get the point. Don't be a victim!

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1 year ago

This felt clearer to me. Thank you for spending some of your time replying me. I really appreciate this.

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1 year ago

Glad I could help @heartbeat1515!

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1 year ago

One of the fundamental things i think.

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1 year ago

True that @StarLord! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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1 year ago