2023 Word of the Year

Forgiveness, in a psychological sense, is the intentional and voluntary process by which one who may initially feel victimized or wronged, goes through a change in feelings and attitude regarding a given offender, and overcomes the impact of the offense including negative emotions such as resentment and a desire for vengeance (however justified it might be). 

I kept fighting this one, I did not want this to be my word of the year because really FORGIVENESS is hard.  Almost everyone has experienced being wronged by someone. It could be a former co-worker, friend, or family member. But hanging on to those negative feelings can do great harm to your health.

"Forgiving a person who has wronged you is never easy, but dwelling on those events and reliving them over and over can fill your mind with negative thoughts and suppressed anger,Yet, when you learn to forgive, you are no longer trapped by the past actions of others and can finally feel free.

Learning to let go

There are two sides to forgiveness: decisional and emotional. Decisional forgiveness involves a conscious choice to replace ill will with good will. "You no longer wish bad things to happen to that individual. This is often quicker and easier to accomplish."

For emotional forgiveness, you move away from those negative feelings and no longer dwell on the wrong doing. Emotional forgiveness is much harder and takes longer, as it's common for those feelings to return on a regular basis, This often happens when you think about the offender, or something triggers the memory, or you still suffer from the adverse consequences of the action."

Practicing forgiveness can have powerful health benefits. Observational studies, and even some randomized trials, suggest that forgiveness is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and hostility; reduced substance abuse; higher self-esteem; and greater life satisfaction. Yet, forgiving people is not always easy. 

But it is always worth it.  I have been hurt a lot by three people in particular in my lifetime... 

1) a pastors wife 
2) a boss 
3) a family member. 

This year I  Commit myself to forgive. I will write about my forgiveness in a journal or a letter that I will not send to the mentioned three people. "This helps with the decisional side of forgiveness,  hold on to your forgiveness. This step is tough because memories of the event will often recur. "Forgiveness is not erasure, Rather, it's about changing your reaction to those memories.  When the bad feelings arise, I will remind myself that I have forgiven and ultimately I want good for the offender.

I will post some here about how it is going for me, maybe I will share the stories of the three people above mentioned, who knows where this will lead but for now I am working on my forgiveness. 

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