Each time you hold feelings of resentment and anger toward others, you accumulate large amounts of cortisol. Cortisol, also known as the ‘stress hormone’, weakens the body’s immune system, accelerating the aging process and increasing the risk of heart disease, chronic pain, and depression.
Equally as important as bathing your body on a regular basis, is taking a mental and emotional bath to help you rebalance your hormonal system. You do this by forgiving or letting go of past hurts, resentments, and grievances that you’ve been unnecessarily holding in your heart.
You forgive others, not because you’re a good person or a good Christian or highly spiritual. You forgive because not doing so can cost you your physical, mental or emotional health. You forgive because not doing so could even cost you your life.
As a professional coach, I find that the problem most people have when it comes to forgiveness is that the majority of us were never taught how to forgive. Growing up, the majority of us are told of the importance of forgiveness but when it comes to the actual practice, most of us haven’t a clue on how to even get started.
To forgive someone, you need to first release your judgments, or interpretation of the events – even before you fully understand why things happened. The problem is that most people want to understand why someone ‘wronged’ them before they forgive. It’s a Catch-22 situation!
This is what can make forgiveness so challenging and why people so often fail. After a while, it seems easier to just live with it and pretend to ‘forgive’, but never ‘forget’, as the old saying goes. The problem with this approach is that you continue to build layer upon layer of toxic chemicals within your body that over-stresses your emotional system.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re struggling to forgive someone who broke your heart, you may benefit from watching my webinar on 5 Steps to Healing a Broken Heart. Another useful resource is my free guided meditation on forgiveness, part of the 12 Virtues of the Heart Series. The simple process I guide you through will have a lasting impact on your mental and emotional health.
Or you may just want to try the following forgiveness exercise. It will help you take that ’emotional bath’ your heart might be longing for.
How to Forgive Someone who Broke your Heart
- Think of a person or situation you have resented and want to forgive.
- Ask yourself, “Am I truly, sincerely, and genuinely willing to forgive them?” If the answer is ‘yes’, continue with this exercise. If your answer is ‘no’, it is best that you don’t continue. I believe there’s such a thing as, ‘premature forgiveness’. Every emotional wound needs time to heal! So just be honest, and gentle with yourself. When you’re ready to forgive you’ll know it, and you’ll feel it in your heart.
- Next, focus on your heart, and begin to send all of the thoughts and emotions that come up in your head about the person or situation – including past associations, memories, anger, hurt, resentments, etc. – gently into the heart. As often as these thoughts or feelings pop up in your head again, simply send them to your heart, which is the clearinghouse for your emotions.
- While you continue to breathe in all the thoughts and emotions, try to feel and send heart energy, care, compassion, and forgiveness to the person or situation with every exhalation.
- Do this for about 5 minutes. When you’re done, take a moment to become aware if you feel any different than when you started. Ask yourself, ‘What has changed?’
- Repeat this process every time you find yourself starting to get angry, or feeling hurt.
Every time you practice forgiveness, what you’re truly doing is practicing heart management, or simply, the capacity to activate your heart’s power to release old resentments and hurts, change your perception and bring you to a greater understanding of the person or situation.
Forgiving others so that you can experience greater health and happiness, is ultimately what makes forgiveness one of the most important practices you will ever learn.
Is there someone in your life you’d like to forgive but you didn’t know how to go about it?
Now that you know the steps, what are you waiting for?
Feel free to leave your comments below.
From my heart to yours.
Photo by Arthur Aldyrkhanov