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Working on Forgiveness

by: Angelina H. Rodriguez

Forgiveness is a learned skill and a daily process that never ends. The sequence of becoming angry is the circumstance, blaming the person or situation, the victim, and then anger. There are many ways to forgive, but anger can be so powerful that one never wants to let go. Self-awareness is the first and most important step. Being a victim is a strong role, and it helps you feel safe, whether you are or not. But, you must keep making an ongoing choice to forgive.

The first step to forgiveness is becoming aware that you are seemingly the victim. Then, you must decide if you want to continue to be the victim. However, this is not a simple decision. Some methods of forgiveness are:

  • Understand how detrimental it is to be in the past and not live in the present.

  • Rethink the situation. Reframe your mindset so that you are not the victim and view these challenges as opportunities.

  • Being aware that you are angry will help diminish these feelings.

  • Realize that there are many situations and people that you wish would be different, but you do not have control over them. It is normal to want to be in a better situation, but when that mindset becomes demanding, it is problematic. Do not waste time being upset about something you cannot control.

  • Be compassionate, even if this is difficult. You can develop deep compassion for someone who has wronged you, and this will help the process of forgiveness.

  • Identify your grievance stories. If you tell the same story more than three times where you are the victim, you have a “grievance story.” This is mostly relevant when suffering from chronic pain when it was someone else’s fault. 

  • Learn to “let go”. This sounds like a simple step to take, but it is not easy to come by. Recognize what stressors are easy to release from your life.

Remember that anxiety is a psychological response to a threat and is the sensation that comes from

stress hormones. When the situation resolves, your body will go back to chemical balance. When you can’t escape the stressor (pain), then you will secrete high levels of stress chemicals in an effort to regain control.

That is anger. Anger can control you if you do not learn to let go of the situation that is hurting you. You cannot change the situation, but you do have a choice to deal with it through a forgiveness method that you can connect to.

The key to dealing with anger and anxiety is using methods to lower stress hormones, which is not just an intellectual exercise. Processing anger is the tipping point of solving chronic pain and allowing a new life that you may have never experienced. Learning to forgive is an opportunity to thrive and to transform your influence on other people.

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