There are people in your life
Who’ve come and gone
They let you down
You know they’ve hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby
‘Cause life goes on
You keep carryin’ that anger
It’ll eat you up inside baby
“Heart of the Matter”, Don Henley
MIKE CAMPBELL, DON HENLEY, JOHN DAVID SOUTHER
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Cass County Music / Wisteria Music / Privet Music
“We live in a culture that prizes the expression of anger and resentment more than the peace of forgiveness.”
– Dr. Fred Luskin
Recently, in therapy, I’ve been focusing on this forgiveness thing.
Forgiveness is a tricky proposition; sometimes easy, sometimes not.
At times, I can do it almost immediately, when the offense is nothing to get worked up over. Someone makes a mistake, I forgive and that’s that.
On other occasions, someone says or does something that really angers me, or hurts me, or both, and coming around to forgiveness may take a little longer. But it does happen.
There are certain people who have wronged me, at some point in my past, whom I have not forgiven. (Nor wanted to.)
And there are things I’ve done for which I’ve never really forgiven myself. Course, I’m kind of hard on myself, anyway, but that’s another story.
But, I’m in the process now of learning how to forgive, finally.
Think about this a minute: How good a job do you think a carpenter, a mechanic, or a baker would do without the proper tools at his disposal? (Correct answer: not so good.)
So it is that I’m just now acquiring the tools I need to forgive. I mean, you know, I’ve heard, since I was small, the importance of forgiving, but nobody ever told me how. It was just something I was supposed to do.
And the thing is, it’s not always as simple as, “Okay, I forgive you.” In some cases, there’s a bit more to it than that. And that’s when you need the tools.
Enter Dr. Fred Luskin, a senior consultant in health promotion at Stanford University. In the course of teaching people how to improve their health and well being, Dr. Luskin researched the role of forgiveness in one’s emotional and physical well being. Turns out, it’s hugely significant.
But, again, none of his students really knew how to forgive, so Dr. Luskin developed a nine-step process, which allows people to approach forgiveness more analytically, separating the emotions from the people and events that provoke those emotions, and putting it all into some perspective.
So, I’m going to try these nine steps for myself to see if I can bust through some long held grudges, including the ones against myself. As I am just beginning to work through this, it’s too early for me to testify to any health benefits. I don’t know how well, or even if, this will work for me. But, if it helps me cope with my depression, I’ve got to try it.
If this has got you curious about Dr. Luskin and his studies, you can go to https://www.learningtoforgive.com/ and check it out for yourself.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress, assuming there will be some. I’m hopeful.