Practice forgiveness therapy.
Unforgiveness takes heavy physical, emotional, and psychological toll. It chips away at the foundation of your mental health and overall well-being.
Health experts at John Hopkins report that the act of forgiveness can reduce the risk of heart attack, lower cholesterol levels, improve sleep, reduce pain, lower your blood pressure, and decrease levels of anxiety, depression and stress.
Betrayal, for example, is a deepest psychological trauma wound. One needs to practice forgiveness therapy in order to heal deeply and significantly.
Antonio, a long time psychotherapy patient, was cheated by his wife. For over 10 years, he suffered from the deceit, lies, and secret manipulations of his wife.
He developed varied addictions such as getting drunk in the bar, taking shabu, and attempting suicide.
Antonio started to heal only when he learned to practice forgiveness therapy: forgiving his adulterous wife, her affair partner, and himself.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to guide the nature and dynamic of your “forgiveness therapy:”
- Is the behavior a continuing behavior or the person recognizes the hurt and trying to change?
- Does the person who betrayed or hurt you want forgiveness?
- Does the person learn from the wrong behavior or likely to repeat the wrongdoing?
- Is this typical behavior pattern or a one-time event?
- How long have you known the person?
- Has the person accepted responsibility?
- Was the behavior intentional or is it based on the loss of an illusion?
- What makes this relationship worth the forgiveness / reconciliation?
- Do you need to forgive even without reconciliation so as to move on in your life without the bitterness?
- Is the betrayal a result of deliberate hurtful behavior, carelessness, or personal weakness?
Remember that forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. Forgiveness does not mean condoning wrongful or harming behavior.
Forgive to heal. Forgiveness is more for yourself than for the other.