Isn’t It Time to Forgive?

Posted by Amber Bradley on February 10, 2016

Sometimes it’s ok to be real.
It’s ok to cuss.
It’s ok to smile so brightly you actually sing a little bit.
At Calibration, we know this because above all…we’re human.  To that end, we all can get a little sappy at times.  A little over the top.  And guess what?  That’s ok.  Even welcomed.

Here we are just before another national “celebration” of love, St. Valentine’s Day. I can’t help but recall one of my most favorite movies during this sappy time of chocolate hearts and extra-large peanut butter blobs.  The movie is About Time and if you haven’t seen it close this blog immediately and download it.  If your gut isn’t wrenching with sobs by the credits, you missed the point.

About Time is one of those movies that causes you to live deeper.  To breathe in each moment with your children, your spouse, or your partner.  To look up at the sky and be grateful for this amazing journey, as rocky and inspiring as it may get.  This national “love” day often reminds me that love, and life, is such a fragile thing.  If taken for granted, held in resentment, or not appreciated even for a moment, it’s gone or if not gone, wasted.  The worst form of wasted love is the kind that withers under a suffocating mask of resentment or anger.

As I grow up in the swells of this adulthood life, I’ve noticed one coveted lesson that hasn’t let me down.  It’s forgiveness.  Forgiveness.  Forgiveness. Easier said than done and I have a lot of people to thank for helping me learn this lesson.  Let’s take a look at its purest form from some forgiveness folks:

What is forgiveness?  Dispelling the Myths of Forgiveness

Andrea Brandt, Ph.D., M.F.T., clarified what forgiveness doesn’t mean:

  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are pardoning or excusing the other person’s actions.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to tell the person that he or she is forgiven.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any more feelings about the situation.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean there is nothing further to work out in the relationship or that everything is okay now.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you should forget the incident ever happened.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to continue to include the person in your life.
  • … and forgiveness isn’t something you do for the other person.

The Gift of Forgiveness

Marie Forleo,  Host and Founder of MarieTV, says forgiveness is a gift to you.  Forgiveness gives you mental, emotional, and spiritual freedom.  She suggests that forgiveness, though it may feel ominous, can be accomplished in just two simple steps.

Step #1: Forgive yourself

Don’t beat yourself up over allowing yourself to be hurt, betrayed, or lied to.  Seek out what you can learn from the situation and grow from it.

Step #2:  Forgive the person

Welcome the willingness to forgive, first.  Forleo explains how this willingness to forgive can melt the walls around your heart.  Then simply state, “I forgive [Insert Name here] for [Insert wrong here].”

I would also add a third step in my experience.  This step comes before forgiving yourself and may not apply to all situations, but I’ve found it applies to most if you are truly honest with yourself.  Ask yourself, “What was my role?”  What could I have done better, communicated better, how could I have been kinder, more understanding?  Did I truly listen?  Did I judge unfairly?   Did I jump to conclusions?  Did I let my own past perceptions color my view?

Asking yourself these eye-opening questions can cause even just the tiniest of sparks to realize, maybe you should forgive.  Maybe you did play a role.  Maybe it wasn’t the other person’s fault…entirely?  My mother and grandmother have often said, “As flat as a pancake is, it still has two sides.” Maybe we’re not as perfect as we once thought?

The Health Benefits of Forgiveness

Researchers have found that hostility is the central emotion to unforgiveness.  When research participants were asked to remember a previous transgression done against them their heart rate, blood pressure, and sweat gland activity increased.  Participants reported feeling angry, sad, anxious, and in less control.  After participants were asked to imagine forgiving their offender their physical arousal dropped to normal levels.  To minimize your stress and improve your health, consider forgiving the person and see how you can move past the negative emotion of unforgiveness to a more overall positive feeling of forgiveness.

If you’ve ever found that you’re carrying the weight of 1,000 cinder blocks or that sadness lump in your throat only grows with every awkward swallow – forgiveness might be your answer. Forgiveness means you are free from the hurt and negative emotions associated with the previous transgressions.  Free.  Free from hurt.

Isn’t it about time to forgive?  The result of forgiveness is that you are free to give completely without reservation.  The best gift you can give yourself. It’s the ultimate sign of courage and strength.

In one of the last scenes of About Time, the main character goes back to visit with his father one last time.  They don’t talk about who was right or who wronged them.  They spend their last moments of life, walking along the beach and reliving a childhood memory that was so dear to them both.

Life. Precious, fragile, and fleeting.  Isn’t it time to forgive?