The Value of Forgiveness

According to the Greater Good Science Center, forgiveness is defined by psychologists as a “conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.”

I watched Jack Kornfield’s lecture on forgiveness.  He tells the story of a mother who loses her son to gang violence.  After her son’s murderer is sentenced to a juvenile detention center, she says to him, “I’m going to kill you.”

With love, she kills the part of him that made him a murderer.  While serving his sentence, she visits him and takes care of him.  She makes it her mission to heal her son’s killer.  She brings him food and talks to him.  She provides for the kid who took what she valued most in her life, her son.  Instead of acting out of spite, she makes the conscious decision to transform him with kindness and maternal protection.

Once he completes his sentence, she offers him her home.  She becomes the mother he never had, and in return, he becomes the son he took from her.

As I was listening to this story, I was moved to tears.  I am amazed.  I came to the realization that I have so much to learn about the act of forgiveness.

With time, I have been able to set aside my feelings of pain and continue with my life.  I accept that I have to interact with those who have wronged me.  I wear a smile when I see them.  I chose to live my life in a way that does not harm me.  People are not entirely good or entirely evil.  They are human and prone to make mistakes.  I try to understand this and offer the best version of myself that I can be.

Some days are harder than others.  At times, the closet of pain opens up, and it is like an avalanche that consumes me.  I allow the tears to flow because it is necessary to release the pain.  Ultimately, I come to the understanding that forgiveness is what gives me peace of mind, heart, and soul.

According to Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, one of the things you could do to attract good things in your life, is to forgive.  The author asks that you write down on a piece of paper the name of the person you are ready to forgive, followed by the following words: “I forgive you.”  I have done it, and I have felt a great sense of weight be lifted off from my chest.  It is the act of writing that makes it final.  You are no longer allowing yourself to be controlled by the actions of others.  Your feelings are your own.

If you allow your spirit to heal, then you will live a life free from burdens that kill your ability to be happy.  We may think that it is a sign of weakness to forgive, but it is an indication of strength.

It takes a lot of energy and time to be forgiving, but the result is much more beneficial to you.  Research shows that those who hold on to their resentment are more likely to experience severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Once we start releasing the negativity in our lives, we will see how the universe showers us with love.

-Stephanie Sandoval




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