Author Archive: directorifi

Forgiveness Intervention Improves Health of Women with Fibromyalgia

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.

Read the full story: Forgiveness Intervention Helps Women with Fibromyalgia Abused During Childhood Improve their Condition.

Read the complete Fibromyalgia Study: A Forgiveness Intervention for Women With Fibromyalgia Who Were Abused in Childhood: A Pilot Study.

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Starting the Journey of Forgiveness with Courage

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.

Robert

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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.

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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.

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I think I have become a more sensitive person because of the pains from injustice I have suffered. Yet, I sometimes think of this “sensitivity” as a weakness in me. I think I am not a strong person. In other words, I don’t trust myself to stand up for myself any more. What do I do?

Being sensitive does not mean that you will ignore justice.  If you see this happening to you, then acknowledge it and correct your response so that you exercise forgiveness and justice together.  Also,not trusting yourself may be related to self-esteem.  Have you been deeply hurt by someone to such an extent that it lowered your self-esteem?  If so, then your forgiving the person (and seeing his or her inherent worth) may help you to see your own inherent worth, thus increasing your self-esteem and your trust of yourself.

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