Forgive and…be happy!

Forgive and…be happy!

We all feel, at times, as though we've been wronged. 

Sometimes, we even feel we've wronged ourselves. 

Holding on to bitterness and anger can quite literally, kill; in contrast, forgiveness can boost our mental health and allow us to enjoy more happiness and a more positive life. 

It's easier said than done sometimes; and it's not necessarily about forgetting or approving of the behaviour in question. But it is important to find ways to forgive else we'll continue to sabotage our own happiness and wellbeing which is obviously, not in anyone's interest. 

So if you're interested in learning more about forgiveness, give this great article from the Atlantic a read…

On New Year’s Eve in 1995, Frances McNeill, a 78-year-old woman who lived alone in Knoxville, Tennessee, went to bed early. Outside, someone watched the house lights flick off. Figuring its inhabitants were gone for the night, he made his move.

McNeill awoke to the sound of the intruder rummaging through her bookshelves and drawers. She walked out of her bedroom and crept up behind him. He swiveled around, raised his crowbar high above his head, and bludgeoned McNeill to death. Afterward, he raped her with a wine bottle.

The next morning, McNeill’s son, Mike, discovered her body on the blood-stained carpet. Mike frantically called his older brother, Everett Worthington, who drove over to the house right away.

For the next 24 hours, the brothers seethed with rage.

“It was a traumatic scene and terrible to walk through the house I was raised and see the evidence of all this violence,” said Worthington, who recalled the incident recently. “At one point, I pointed to a baseball bat and thought, 'I wish that guy was here so I could beat his brains out.'”

Worthington, who was (and remains) a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, had at that point been actively researching the psychology of forgiveness for several years. He was studying how people forgive and how forgiveness can work alongside justice.

"I thought, ‘Oh man, here is a guy who has written a book about forgiveness, has taught about this,’” Worthington said of himself. Surely, he thought, an expert on forgiveness could find a way to make peace with even the most heinous perpetrator.

He decided he was going to try to forgive the killer.

Mind you, Worthington does not forgive easily. He says he once had a professor who gave him a B and it took him “10 years and a religious experience to forgive that guy.” But he knew from his research that carrying around the anger over his mother’s homicide would be worse than the painful process of absolution.

To do it, Worthington used his own, five-step “REACH” method of forgiveness. First, you “recall” the incident, including all the hurt. “Empathize” with the person who wronged you. Then, you give them the “altruistic gift” of forgiveness, maybe by recalling how good it felt to be forgiven by someone you yourself have wronged. Next, “commit” yourself to forgive publicly by telling a friend or the person you’re forgiving. Finally, “hold” onto forgiveness. Even when feelings of anger surface, remind yourself that you’ve already forgiven…

…keep reading the full article HERE