Sunday, September 5, 2010

Five Aspects of Forgiveness – Part 5 – Health

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,

sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

~Proverbs 16:24 (NRSV).

This series has covered aspects of forgiveness in justice, memory, forgiving oneself, faith, and now health impacts are dealt with.

There is probably no better way of managing the health of our bodies, minds and souls than finding ways through those angering experiences that come every person’s way via forgiveness—the reconciliation of healing.

Healing and health maintenance are synonymous to the good life everyone can have.

Inevitably, forgiveness ends in this truth:

“It’s hard to forget, but forgiveness is something you do for yourself.”

~Azim Khamisa.

If only we can remember this golden truth we will always be motivated to do our hard yards so we can reap the restoration of our truest souls—that place where God’s peace ameliorates our burdens and where tranquillity of soul is a given.

Forgiveness – A Health Choice

The foregoing in this series focused on other issues—dimensions entwined vicariously at times—issues that were somewhat extraneous to us, and certainly those that affected others as much as ourselves.

The choice to forgive for our health, however, has no impact on and nothing to do with other people. It’s purely a great pinch of wisdom to invest in at the personal level. It just makes sense.

And whether we accept it or not there’s scientific evidence that attests to the positive impact forgiveness has on our ability to resume life—and health—as it either was or as it should have been in the first place (for those who’ve rarely known this peace).

A Practical Technique for Forgiveness

When we’re struggling with forgiving someone, or a circumstance, we can try this commonly-known exercise. It involves the science of empathy.

We get two chairs opposite each other (chairs A and B) in a room and we take a seat in Chair A and voice our grievance to the empty Chair B, where we imagine the absent offender to be. When we’re happy that we’ve communicated our grievance adequately—and this can take ten minutes if we wish—we move over to Chair B and ‘sit in’ the position of response.

A paradigm shift often occurs as we, in the position of the offender, respond. Certainly our outlook is challenged and we possibly begin to see things differently. As we vocalise our response, as we truly imagine ourselves in ‘their’ position, we hear perhaps for the first time their side of things.

Finally, maybe, there is some empathy for how we see things from the ‘offender’s’ viewpoint. It gets us thinking a little more ‘outside the box’—we see the situation and not just our own hurt.

There are always two sides to any story. Sometimes it takes compassion to understand the position of the other person. And compassion is a relatively cheap concession if we reclaim or restore our peace into the bargain.

Forgiveness: it’s a choice for health at the most personal level.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: A paper from from the motion picture, The Power of Forgiveness.

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