Why Forgiveness Matters...

In my private practice, I have observed so much depression and anxiety.  As I delve deeper with clients, I generally find that clients often have a great deal of resentment and bitterness that fuels their problems.  I am of the opinion that if a person cannot or will not work on forgiving others and themselves, then healing is so much harder.  Nelson Mandala said it best, “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.”

Even the medical community contends that holding onto grudges and harboring resentment is detrimental to our physical health.  It impacts our blood pressure, our heart health, and our immune system.  It also triggers our stress response which creates depression and anxiety.

In terms of forgiveness, it is one of the hardest things for us to get our head around.  “Why should I forgive this person?”  “Do you have any idea what they did to me?” It feels so counter intuitive when we are in the heat of the moment, yet, I guarantee we hurt ourselves more than we can imagine, especially if we let those feelings linger. 

Like everyone else on earth, I hold and have held many grievances against people and groups.  I have learned that the best way to start the process of healing is to ask myself, “Am I willing to change my mind about this?” Resentment is only built on a mental construct we created – a story we have told ourselves time and time again.  The story doesn’t even have to be 100% accurate in order for us to believe it – especially if we’ve reinforced it in our minds.   

Willingness to change our thinking about a person or a situation is critical to our having ultimate healing.​