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Forgiveness as your Superpower

Whether you work in the public or private sector, there's a need for forgiveness. Forgiveness can help you both personally and professionally. Forgiveness Advocate, Lyndon Harris, gave an inspiring keynote at the US Servas 2021 Conference on "Forgiveness is my Superpower." Excerpts and additional material are below.

What is Forgiveness?

"Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness," says the Greater Good Magazine. Additionally, Lyndon Harris says, "It is about taking back your power, feeling at peace, healing yourself, and learning a skill."

According to Dr. Fred Luskin, director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project and author of Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness, it is not forgetting, not excusing poor behavior, not denying the hurt, and not reconciling with the offender.

Benefits of Forgiveness from Mayo Clinic and Other Sources

FORGIVENESS SETS YOU FREE. " Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That's why it's such a powerful weapon. Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies," said Nelson Mandela.
IT PROMOTES HEALTH. It lowers your blood pressure. It improves your mental and physical health as much as stopping smoking.
IT REDUCES ANXIETY AND STRESS.
IT FOSTERS HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIPS.
IT BRINGS PEACE AND JOY.
IT BUILDS A BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE. It is the means to break the cycle of violence and revenge. You become a better guide for your children and those around you.
IT IMPROVES PURPOSE AND PRODUCTIVITY. With the release from grudges and burdens, you can focus on making a meaningful difference in your life and the lives of others. Life becomes easier.

Forgiveness in Action

The journey of Lyndon Harris to forgiveness began at Ground Zero on the morning of 9/11/2001. Serving as the priest in charge of St. Paul's Chapel, he initiated a volunteer force that rose to over 15,000, serving meals, offering supplies and giving encouragement to the rescue workers. Then came conflict with the church elders, who thought Harris overstepped without church leadership approval. Harris resigned and his life fell apart with PTSD, depression, bankruptcy, and a failed marriage. He eventually began working with Dr. Fred Luskin and other forgiveness experts. Forgiveness set him free. Now he helps others. Learn more.

"After being imprisoned in South Africa for 27 years, simply for his protest of Apartheid, one might expect that Nelson Mandela would hold at least a small grudge. But, as he so eloquently said himself, 'As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.'" As he wrote in his book, Long Walk to Freedom, "In my country, we go to prison first and then become President." Learn more.

Practical Pointers to Embrace Forgiveness

BE AWARE. Recognize that lack of forgiveness is holding you a prisoner. It is hurting you. Become aware of the benefits of forgiveness.
SET A PURPOSE AND INTENTION. As Dr. Luskin says, "Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better. Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else." Establish a passionate purpose to move beyond the resentment and pain. Set a goal to forgive.
REFRAME. "Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you two minutes — or ten years — ago. Forgiveness helps to heal those hurt feelings," says Dr. Luskin. Reframe the situation by changing the assumptions.
PURSUE YOUR PURPOSE. "Instead of mentally replaying your hurt, seek out new ways to get what you want," says Dr. Luskin. Those new ways may include taking care of you through being kind to yourself, being present now, learning stress management, relaxation, and breathing techniques, saying positive affirmations, playing, spending time in nature, and taking on new meaningful pursuits. Be the change.
SURROUND YOURSELF with Proper People. Improper people can hurt you. Proper people, animals, and spiritual forces can help you. Spend more time with them. Use the Connections Strategy. Join a support group or find a counselor.
LET GO. Use the Allowing Strategy. Choose to forgive and move on.

Summary

Anger and resentment can over take your personal and professional life. Set yourself free through forgiveness. Here's how: become aware, set the intention to forgive, reframe the situation, pursue forgiveness by taking care of yourself, surround yourself with proper people, and let go.

P.S.  Sign up for the free "Szczurek Success Strategies" e-newsletter now.

copyright 2021 Theresa M. Szczurek.  All rights reserved.

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