Although I feel badly about recently sending out a poorly worded Wellness Pathway, your patience with me ironically gives you the opportunity to experience a powerful cure-all: forgiveness. In his book, Forgive for Good, Frederic Luskin, Ph.D., documents the following health benefits of forgiveness:
- Forgiveness lowers blood pressure and the concomitant risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Hostility is the single most dangerous component of the Type-A personality.
- It also strengthens the immune system; in other words, people who are quick to forgive are slow to get sick.
- Forgiveness improves mental health, including a reduction in depression and hopelessness.
- It is an important part of stress management, leading to the reduction of stress symptoms such as racing heart, stomach upset, and dizziness.
Reflecting on Luskin’s research, Dr. Christiane Northrup quipped that, “One sure-fire way to ruin your health is to sue someone.” That’s because law suits have a way of entrenching people in adversarial positions. We become invested, literally, in proving the other side wrong and getting our due. And some people end up carrying that blaming spirit to the grave.
So what’s a person to do? Let it go. Even in the rare instances where lawsuits are appropriate, don’t become invested in the outcome. Just let them run their course. And in everyday transactions, err on the side of extending people a generous amount of latitude. Most people are doing the best they can, given the circumstances, most of the time. When people mess up, it’s better for your own health and wellness to forgive them than to assign blame and hold grudges.
In other words, forgiveness benefits you more than it does the offender. By holding on to the hurt, you are hurting yourself (whether or not you hurt them too). So stop hurting and start healing yourself. The physical and psychological benefits of forgiveness will stay with you for life.
Coaching Inquiries: Is there someone you need to forgive? How could you let go of the hurt and extend the olive branch of forgiveness? Would it be better to do this privately, in your heart, or publicly, in communication with the offender? Could a coach assist you to take positive action in time for the holidays?
To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
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