Having, lately, a feeling of ‘stuckness’ or emptiness? The overall impact of which can not be overemphasized. We all have this moment in time when we can’t really figure out the fire producing the smoke that is choking the life out of us- it chokes our peace; our creative ability; our mental capacity; our sleep, and the list is endless.
Could it be as a result of an unresolved situation that is now bearing out on your life? The stress which is the feeling that we can not cope with a life situation, as a result, leaves you drained, tired and sometimes useless. If this relates to you and you are reading this, can you just take a moment with me as I take you through one of the most emotional dynamics of life that affect the entirety of our life if left unattended: Unforgiveness.
We all are social beings, in other words, by nature we thrive on association or relationships and all the elements associated with this e.g friendship, interaction, love, romance, trust etc. but sometimes we do cross each others’ boundaries and end up hurting each others’ feelings in varying degrees. As Humans with territorial tendencies we seek to protect ourselves from further hurts, hence we create a barrier trying to shut out of our lives the offenders using what was done to wrong us as excuse-put in simple and plain term unforgiving.
This, I believe, could be a gear shifting to fight or flight mode: a coping strategy employed to minimize or eradicate stress caused. By so doing we create an emotion-focused coping strategy by creating an inaccessible wall against our associates (friends, colleague, spouse etc). We feel as long as this is in place we are secured and happy. But over time, this decision start playing catch-up: we start getting stuck behind the emotional wall we have put in place, and what was meant to be protective, at first now has become a prison.
Unforgiveness appears to start as a guard and protection but later becomes a trap. Hence, the unavoidable result of a negative feeling of ‘stuckness’ and emptiness.
Forgiveness contributes to mental and physical health when given freely; it is empowering and can significantly reduce stress.
These 9 Steps will help you embark on a Forgiveness project
This will help you decipher the situation and set you off on a process which will eventually assist you to make an informed ‘graceful’ decision.
1. Clarity of the effect of the situation on your feelings:
Be clear about the following:
a. How the situation makes you feel
b. What is considered unacceptable: perhaps you are the one at fault
c. Who you can share your story with
2. Commitment to forgiving the person who has wronged you.
Know that forgiving someone is for your benefit, not for the benefit of others because they may even be completely oblivious to the effect of their actions. Forgive like a child would
3. Understand that forgiving someone does not mean you have to condone their behaviours or befriend them. Exceptional cases might require that you mend your bonds if possible.
4. Recognise that the stress you are experiencing is a product of thoughts and feelings you have now and not the original grievance, which is now ‘PAST’.
5. When feeling distressed try some stress management techniques such as meditation, prayers, breathing exercise etc.
6. Accept that the actions of others are not within our control. Brooding on how things should be, in this case, will increase our stress further.
7. Identify your goals: what do you want? The time and energy you’d otherwise spend dwelling on bad experiences can be used to reach your goals. So, go all out to achieve your goals. You can make it.
8. Dwell on the power of well being achieved by a lifestyle driven by love, kindness, and beauty you see in the world.
9. Change your story. Stop seeing yourself as a victim but as a victor. Having overcome your adversities and using your experiences as learning tools.
These are well-proven approaches to help heal personal injuries and resentment through the power of forgiveness. Remember, by all means, never to go on exacting revenge because it will only serve to escalate tension. Think about this saying by Confucius, ’’before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.’’