Archive for May, 2015
OK, everyone, it is time to reflect on those good old school days of yore, those care-free days when everyone thought we did not have a care in the world. Yet, sometimes we carry burdens from those days and we do so in the silence of our own hearts. When was the last time that you, as an adult, had a discussion about your days in elementary, middle, or high school? When was the last time you had such a discussion with an emphasis on the emotional wounds you received back then? I am guessing that such discussion-times have been quite rare.
I wonder how many of you reading this still have some unresolved issues from the good-old-days. It is in school, within the peer group, at recess, on the sports team that our current sense of self is shaped, at least to a degree. Sometimes we are influenced by those days to a greater extent than we realize.
So, it is time for a little quiz. Please think about your days in school and see if you can identify one person who was unjust to you, so unjust that when you think about the person now, it hurts. This person is a candidate for your forgiveness. I have an important question for you: How has this person inadvertently influenced your own view of yourself? How has this person’s actions made you feel less than who you really are? Do you see that it is time to change that?
My challenge to you today is to take steps to forgive him or her for those behaviors long ago that have influenced you up to this very moment. It is time to take a better look at what happened, to forgive, and then to ask the question after you forgive: Who am I now as I admit to the injustice, admit to it negatively influencing how I have seen myself all these years, and who am I now as I stand in forgiveness?
Perhaps the good old days will seem a little brighter once you forgive. You will have lifted a silent burden.
Fibromyalgia News Today, Dallas, Texas – Fibromyalgia patients who suffered abuse during childhood achieved “significant improvements in forgiveness, anger and overall fibromyalgia health” after a forgiveness intervention administered as part of a new study conducted by the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) and University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.
Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by widespread chronic musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, stiffness and numbness in certain parts of the body, headaches, sleep disorder
and mood alterations. Fibromyalgia can affect people’s ability to conduct simple daily tasks, compromising their quality of life. Women are usually more affected than men.
Medical researchers believe that childhood abuse or trauma may change the body’s response to stress, potentially leading to the development of fibromyalgia. In fact, people with fibromyalgia have a higher prevalence of childhood abuse compared to the U.S. population in general.
According to the study, clinicians may be able to help patients cope with fibromyalgia through a forgiveness intervention and the changes that it induces in the patient’s mental and physiological state.
The study is entitled “A Forgiveness Intervention for Women With Fibromyalgia Who Were Abused in Childhood: A Pilot Study.” It was published in the September 2014 issue—Vol. 1(3), pages 203-217—of the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice®, a publication of the American Psychological Association. Study team leaders were Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the IFI who has been studying forgiveness for more than 29 years, and Yu-Rim Lee, UW-Madison Department of Educational Psychology.
It takes steadfast courage to finally decide, “I will forgive.”
So often we know in our mind, through reason, that forgiveness is the right path. Yet, we are hesitant to begin the journey. What if it proves to be too painful? What if I get lost along the way and do not know how to forgive? What if it comes out all wrong?
“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We at the International Forgiveness Institute, Inc. are here to support you as you begin the life-giving journey of forgiveness.
Do you think that people who go through the forgiveness process and experience emotional healing have an obligation to now help others to heal through forgiveness?
As we have said on other occasions, forgiveness is a choice of the one who was treated unjustly. Over time, as I write in the book, The Forgiving Life, people develop such a love of this virtue that it becomes a part of them. It is at this point that some people now feel obligated to forgive and to pass that knowledge on to others. If this obligation to help others starts to develop in you, please remember that you have chosen to make this your obligation. Others still may not feel the same sense of obligation as you and we should not condemn them for that.
Is it wrong to leave a group to which I belong because of a lot of negative attitudes by people in that group? Or, should I stay and help them to see that their negativism is not good for any of us?
The answer depends on your realistic assessment of your degree of danger in staying in the group. If there is no danger, then forgiving people in the group and even forgiving the group itself may help you to endure the negative attitudes. Your forgiving even might help the people to see your loving response, thus changing negative attitudes to positive. This could take time and so please be aware of that. Group norms do not usually change overnight.