01 September 2008

5 Reasons to embrace the F-word

Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dala...Image via Wikipedia Forgiveness isn't something that gets a lot of air time in the popular press. In fact, its often treated as an oddity, something to be admired in others but not necessarily practised by your average individual.

A growing field of research, however, is finding that forgiveness is an important process for us all to embrace as part of our everyday life.

“Why is compassion so important?
Someone must take the initiative to move beyond the cycle of old choices and responses that brings more pain and suffering and recognize the opportunity for a healing response to life itself. This is also true of the forgiveness that results from a compassionate heart. Today we face many problems, and the time has come for us to think on a deeper human level where we understand and respect the humanness of everyone. Though we might regard someone as an enemy, this enemy is also a human being who is trapped by his or her own demons and who has a right to happiness.”
—His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

If this isn't enough to convince you, take a look at these 5 reasons to forgive those who done you wrong:

1. Its good for you
Forgiveness can contribute to your health and happiness. It lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. It reduces depression and anxiety symptoms.

2. Its good for your relationships
If you make forgiveness a part of your life, you will become less hostile and more hopeful. You are likely to attract more friends, and have better relationships. Forgiveness is one of the foundations of a long lasting, healthy marriage/partnership and a strong, happy, loving family.

3. It makes you a stronger person
Forgiveness is not easy. It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of great personal strength. By choosing not to forgive, you choose to remain the victim. By forgiving, you are not condoning the offense or hurt, or even reconciling with the person who hurt you. What you are doing is freeing yourself to move on past the pain and resentment.

4. Its an opportunity for transformation
Forgiveness allows individuals and whole nations to heal. It reduces hostility and ends emotional and mental anguish. It can stop the cycle of hatred and hurt that stymies efforts for peace.

5. Holding grudges is like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die
In other words its painful, unpleasant, takes up a lot of energy and is essentially pointless. By letting go, you free up all that energy and can focus it on more positive pursuits as you continue your life's journey.

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