Someone hurt you and you’re holding a grudge. You feel a well-deserved sense of righteous indignation. You’re in the right. That someone was wrong. You have every right to feel the way you do. Anyone who heard the story would take your side.
Maybe she abandoned you. Perhaps he betrayed you. She broke your heart. He molested you. She criticized you. He withdrew love. She beat you up. He failed to protect you.
There are countless ways people can hurt us. Not one of us is immune, and it’s only natural that we build walls to protect our broken hearts. But when we let our hearts get tainted with resentment, we impede the flow of love out of our hearts and poison our inner space, resulting not only in damage to our relationships but also illness in the body.
Forgiveness as Medicine
Every time you think about someone who has wronged you, the amygdala in your lizard brain lights up and activates your “fight-or-flight” response, stimulating your adrenal glands to pump out cortisol and triggering your sympathetic nervous system to go into overdrive. Next thing you know, BOOM. Your heart races, your respiratory rate increases, stomach acid gets pumped out, and – worst of all – the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms get flipped off, putting you at greater risk of everything from heart disease to cancer. Even the Mayo Clinic acknowledges that forgiveness is good for your health. So does Oprah.
But It’s More than That
Health aside, forgiveness is a fundamental part of living a happy, balanced, joyful life in alignment with your Inner Pilot Light. If you believe in quantum entanglement like I do, then you know that every time you spew negative thoughts at someone else, they land back on you. Resentment contaminates the soul, distancing you not only from other beings, but from Source.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, is an offering of grace – and with that grace comes emotional freedom, liberation from the downward spiral of negativity that resentment breeds, and an opportunity for personal redemption.
Take a Chance
Maybe he doesn’t “deserve” it. Maybe she’s unrepentant. You’d certainly be justified in digging your heels in. Everyone would understand… But what if you chose to do something wildly radical, and in choosing forgiveness, you opened a door into a paradise so full of grace you can’t even imagine what might lie on the other side? What if this opened other doors, and suddenly, the phone rang with that good news you’ve been waiting for? What if the person you love opened his heart to you? What if that illness you’ve struggled with miraculously disappeared? What if a huge check unexpectedly appeared in the mail? I can’t prove it, but I’ve heard enough stories to believe that this is how the Universe works.
Resentment prevents miracles, while love and grace foster them. And when you’re operating from a place of radical love, molecules rearrange themselves, time and space reconfigure, tumors disappear, miracles happen…
Grace isn’t something that can be earned. It’s an act of unconditional love and faith – and every single one of us has the capacity to grant it, no matter how heinous the crime.
Do You Have The Courage To Forgive?
Who do you resent? What payoff are you getting for holding onto that resentment? Is it your righteous anger? Your sense of superiority over someone less “right” than you? Your attachment to punishing that person? Your stand for what is moral and good?
Who might you be without that resentment? What might happen if you decided to finally let that go? What might you do to forgive that person? How could you invite grace in?
Lissa Rankin MD
Please share your stories of forgiveness and grace on my blog. At: http://lissarankin.com/