Respected Reader, have you ever been hurt by someone? Of course you have. Are you still mad at that person? Forgiven? Many hurts from people are normal over the course of life. How you react to those infractions determines much about your mental health, and physical health as well. 

First, a basic question, when someone offends you, do you tend to shove that hurt down, as an emotional retentive, or do you get verbally angry and get it all out, as an emotional expressive? Holding it all in tends to promote depression. Letting it all out tends to help release the negative emotion, but there is still a lot of stress associated with such an infraction. No matter your personal response stress still is in your system. Stress has both mental and physical negative ramifications. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, subjects that reported engaging in acts of forgiveness, had less mental health issues. Forgiveness provides protection against stress. Another study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that over time increases in forgiveness are associated with decreases in stress.

Forgiveness is a skill that can be cultivated. The level of ease with forgiving can be tied to your personality type, genetics, whether you’re a trusting or suspicious of others due to past experiences and the nature of the offense you are trying to forgive. You may need a psychotherapist to help guide you through the process of forgiving. 

Forgiveness is both a spiritual and psychological act. It takes discipline, inner strength and intentionality. Personally I have gotten a lot better with forgiveness. I can honestly say that I no longer hold grudges toward those who have hurt me or the ones I love. I can also say that those who have hurt me are no longer in my life or they are physically and emotionally distant from me. I have definite boundaries towards those who have been hurtful.

You travel through life freer and lighter if you have been able to forgive those who have aggrieved you. Respected Reader, are you holding on to unnecessary grudges, refusing to forgive? Who might those people be? Are they from the past or present? If the past, forgive and let go of this negative emotion. If present, change the relationship with that person who is currently hurting you. You do not have time for such a person in your life – at least not close to you.

As Alexander Pope stated, “To err is human, to forgive is divine” 

                  “An unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

Dr. Stathas can be reached at 706-473-1780. Email: jstathas13@gmail.com. Web site: drstathas.googlepages.com. Blog: drstathas.com.  Book: “A Successful Life – Guaranteed!” on Amazon

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