Saturday, April 16, 2011

Forgiveness For Wellness

"#Forgiveness is the act of relinquishing grudges, bitterness & thoughts of revenge against someone who has wronged us.This can be detrimental to our own physical,mental & spiritual health.Gautam Buddha has this to say about it-"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else ; you are the one who gets burned "

It is but natural to be aggrieved by treachery,deceit & intentional harm.Disappointment & disillusionment give way to anger which builds up into bitterness.Our immediate instinct is to give tit for tat & hurt the perpetrator in a similar fashion.This is the time to pause and rethink because such feelings,if taken to the next level,could result in an obsession for revenge.

Ill effects of not Forgiving
*Bitterness can disassociate us from the here & now.It can divert us 
 from our given path & lead us into a jungle of acrimony & revenge.

*Harking back to the past prevents us from moving on.

*Our perspective, behavior & attitudes get distorted,which affects
  our relationships & isolates us.

*Our peace of mind is ruined.

* Failure to forgive impedes recovery.

*It prolongs & accentuates our pain;maybe even aggravates it.

*Our physical health,sleep & vigor are affected adversely. 

*We start out with the idea of hurting the person who has wronged us. This thought keeps on smoldering in our minds; robbing us of peace,sleep & happiness.But the person against whom all these thoughts are directed is blissfully unaware of it. He is going about his daily routine unaffected, while we are making plans & thinking how best we can take our revenge. During all this time it is we who are suffering more.
Ill Effects of Taking Revenge 
The time may come when we put our plans into action. Sure we will feel a rush of joy & satisfaction at having achieved our end .We are now even with our enemy. But do not bank upon this good feeling to last long. It all depends upon the chain of events set in motion.
* Is our conscience OK with what we have done ? 

*Has the fallout been larger & more ominous than what we had anticipated ?

* Do we regret having soured a relationship?

* Are we ashamed of our own behavior & regret having 

   taken revenge? 

*The various social,moral,psychological & legal repercussions 
  which follow will differ from case to case. Suffice it to say that 
   even if we escape social or moral strictures, how will we cope 
  with the feelings of guilt & shame which might follow ?

* Will the whole tedious journey have been worth it? 

* An act of vengeance can lead to a prolonged spell of 
   sparring;with the outcome still being uncertain. Why begin  what 
   we cannot end ?

On the other hand if we don't retaliate to aggression against us then it can be construed as our weakness , & lead to repetition of similar episodes. If vengeance breeds negativity then negligence      damages our self esteem & social standing. Hence we cannot ignore blatant transgressions against us. But our reaction should be such that we convey our message without losing our composure. One way would be to accost our opponent & let him know in measured tones that we are aware of what he has done & it should not be repeated . A straight dialogue will have four-fold benefits---

A)It will release our pent-up feelings

B)It will warn our adversary to desist in future

C)It will save our prestige from taking a nose-dive

D)It will prevent further spoiling of relations & ambiance

When not to Forgive
 However there are instances where forgiveness can be counter-productive.In case of major injustice, it is best to take recourse to legal redress.Another instance where wrongdoing should not be ignored is,when the culprit is a close relative & in a position to harm us again; or when s/he does not show any signs of remorse and does not mend his/her ways.Two glaring examples come to my mind--that of marital abuse and child abuse.
Benefits of Forgiveness
 *Sometimes the feeling of being wronged or humiliated can be baseless too. There is a chance that it was not the other person's intention at all.Perhaps s/he was over stressed or overworked, & committed a mistake. Or he was simply careless & is now regretting his faux-pas. Does that entail a return-post from us? 

*When we forgive a person we are in fact protecting our own self from unseemly behavior. Looking at things from our opponent's point of view will endow us with more understanding & tolerance.

*If we find ourselves at the receiving end once too often then introspection is called for. Are we too sensitive? Do we carry a chip on our shoulder? Is our behavior brusque or insensitive? Perhaps we rub people the wrong way & they are forced to react. A frank appraisal of our own attributes will not only improve social relations but also lead to self advancement. As soon as we forgive someone we climb a step higher on the scale of personal growth.

*When we pardon an opponent we feel a sense of calmness suffuse our being. The burden of how to avenge ourselves, to find the right time, place & method of doing so; is suddenly lifted from our shoulders. We feel light & carefree once again.

*With this major obstacle out of our way, we can devote ourselves to more constructive jobs that we had put on the back-burner. Life can now advance at an even pace.

*Another significant benefit of forgiveness is, release from pain. As long as we focus on why & how, so & so abused us, we experience a lot of anguish.The perpetrator continues to monopolize our thoughts & feelings.But when we decide to pardon him, it is as if the pain dissolves , leaving behind a maturer self.

*Forgiveness acts as a safety valve on a cauldron of fury. Anger persists till we hold a grouse or consider revenge. As soon as we open our hearts to forgive & forget , anger escapes through the  same route. 

*Forgiveness promotes not only emotional well-being but also physical fitness. Once our mind is cleansed of all the negativity arising from a revengeful attitude,we enjoy better health,sleep & stamina.

*When we talk of forgiveness,we must remember to direct it at our own selves too.We all make mistakes. Some of us are quick to pardon others' faults, but are very strict when it comes to our own. Not only faults,even our weaknesses & complexes need tender handling.All of us commit a wrong or a blunder sometimes---whether knowingly or unknowingly. Repentance often sets in afterwards.If it is pricking our conscience too much,then it is better to ask that person's forgiveness, make amends & then move on.Excess remorse& flogging of self will only impair our personality & damage our psyche.

Ultimately it is up to the aggrieved person to evaluate comprehensively whether forgiveness is beneficial or detrimental to his/her well being. In the words of Lewis B Smedes---" 
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover that the prisoner was YOU!"
Some more thoughts on the subject at this site.


  1. Thanks for your appreciation.And welcome to JEETERAHO!

  2. A very thought provoking and an insightful post.. There is so much one can take back from here and try to imbibe it in one's daily life... many thanks for sharing :)

  3. Thanks Arti,i am glad that it clicks with the reader.


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