It seemed like good idea. I thought I was being respectful. When this blog began over five years I decided to honor those victims of domestic terrorism both at home and abroad by having a day of silence in honor of the victims. That has resulted in this blog being quiet this past few months. Such events have become more commonplace than the writers of the Bill of Rights could ever have imagined. On September 29th alone, there were four such incidents – Beaumont, Texas, Round Lake, Illinois, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Jacksonville, Florida. While many abroad will claim the frequency of such events is due to the availability of weapons in the United States, the truth is that these incidents are occurring worldwide. Freedom of the press means they get more publicity in the USA without government censorship.
While the global temperatures this summer were elevated, it would appear the personal tempers are as well. We have become a race of mad, angry humans, willing to snap back without consideration, acting without moral compass, forgetting the history lessons of the past and with little thought given to the future. An accidental push or shove is all the liberty someone needs to retaliate with the greatest weaponry at their disposal. Social media has become a platform for those who speak first and never think.
And so, given the changing times, I too must change my policy if ever I am to post another blog post again. In a three month period this summer, more people died than the sun took trips around the earth. People die every day and each day is a tragedy but these could have been prevents if mankind practiced one simple step – a step of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense It is the letting go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense from or punishment of the offender, however legally or morally justified it might be. Forgiveness includes an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is very different from condoning, excusing, forgetting, pardoning, and reconciliation.
According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness might be the best health gift we give ourselves. Forgiveness results in a longer life, better relationships, and an overall increased sense of well-being.
- Lower blood pressure
When we no longer feel anxiety or anger because of past grievances, our heart rate evens out and our blood pressure drops. This normalizes many processes in the body and brings us into coherence with our heart and circulatory system.
- Stress reduction
Forgiveness eases stress because we no longer recycle thoughts (both consciously and subconsciously) that cause psychic stress to arise. By offering our burdens to Spirit for healing, we learn how to leave irritation and stress behind.
- Less hostility
By its very nature, forgiveness asks us to let go of hostility toward ourselves and others. Spontaneous hostile behavior, like road rage and picking a fight for no reason, goes down as our commitment to forgiveness goes up.
- Better anger-management skills
With fewer and fewer burdens from the past weighing us down, we can have more self-control when we do get angry. We’ll be better able to take some breaths, count to ten, take a time-out or get some exercise—rather than strike out at someone in anger.
- Lower heart rate
Forgiveness relaxes our hearts because we’ve let our pain ease out of our system as an offering to God. Our hearts can calm down, and our heart rate decreases as a result.
- Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse
This is a big one. I feel this is one of the biggest and best reasons to jump into a forgiveness practice without delay. Substance abuse is a mask for underlying pain. Forgiveness helps us release that pain and find the gifts in our situation instead.
- Fewer depression symptoms
Similar to lowering substance abuse, this is a crucial issue for many people. Depression is debilitating and can lead to suicide. On the other hand, forgiveness gives us healing and grace, and can replace depression with a sense of purpose and compassion.
- Fewer anxiety symptoms
Almost everyone needs to forgive him or herself as well as others. Anxiety often arises when we fear that we’ve done something wrong. Our guilty conscience causes anxiety at a deep level. Forgiveness helps us to love ourselves deeply, relieving us of inner pain.
- Reduction in chronic pain
Physical pain often has a psychological cause. When we allow a profound shift to happen with forgiveness, we heal ourselves on both psychological and physical levels. Thus, chronic pain can be reversed and we can come back to health.
- More friendships
When we’re no longer holding grudges, we can get a lot closer to friends and family. Old relationships have a chance to change and grow, and new relationships can enter—all because we made room for them with forgiveness.
- Healthier relationships
When we make forgiveness a regular part of our spiritual practice, we start to notice that all of our relationships (with lovers, co-workers, bosses, neighbors, etc.) begin to blossom. There’s far less drama to deal with, and that’s a huge bonus in life.
- Greater religious or spiritual well-being
Whether you’ve chosen a religion or not, forgiveness will bring you closer to Spirit. When we ask God for help and offer our fear, sadness and pain as a prayer, we receive peace and divine love in return. This is true healing.
- Improved psychological well-being
By releasing our grievances, we become more harmonious on all levels. Nightmares recede and exciting new life visions become commonplace. We feel calmer, happier and ready to give compassion and love to our world.
A good life, full of quality relationships, service to others and fun, is something that most of us hope for without ever knowing how to create it.
Most of our life is consumed with learned traits and that includes despair, hatred, and anger. However, babies are born already knowing how to smile. Think about that for a moment. We are born with the ability to be happy. Babies born blind and deaf can and do smile without ever having seen someone do it. Walking, talking, potty-training, dancing, making music, and throwing a temper fit are all learned traits.
We can change the world if we just begin as we are born to do and celebrate the happy.