With the onset of autumn we relish the change in the seasons, the bright colours, the crisp leaves and the cuddly sweaters. It’s also a time of reflection and Thanksgiving; the time of the year that we are urged to count our blessings and give thanks for all that we have.
Historically, Thanksgiving was held to mark the end of the harvest season and to celebrate the bounty. Thanks to God for everything He gives us and thanks for family and friends are both prominent parts of the holiday, but what about forgiveness?
There is a strong connection between thanksgiving and forgiveness as forgiving someone for their past transgressions against you gives you peace of mind and a freedom from the consuming anger. This in turn leads to a happier life. Furthermore, forgiving yourself gives you a more loving and positive relationship first with yourself and then with others—again culminating in a happier life.
Forgiving someone is a deliberate and intentional process, and one that isn’t taken lightly. What it does is frees you as you change your thoughts and feelings regarding the offense; it won’t change what has happened to you and it won’t change those who have wronged you, what it does is changes you to make you feel better. If you can forgive the wrongdoer, blessings such as spiritual wellbeing, less anxiety and stress, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system and improved heart health can all be yours. You’ll also benefit from higher self-esteem; you have taken the high road so to speak, you have rid yourself of all the anger and resentment and you are a better person for it.
Forgiveness can be challenging and it’s not something that happens overnight. It asks you to look for insight, compassion for the individual and understanding of why they did what they did. You have to consider the value of the forgiveness and reflect on your own well-being before you choose to forgive. No it’s certainly not easy, but the benefits far outweigh the anger and resentment that you feel before you forgive.
If you look at what holding a grudge does to a person, you find that they bring that anger into new experiences and relationships, they can’t enjoy anything that is going on around them, they feel their life lacks purpose, they lose that friendship with others a lot of the time and they may start doubting their spiritual beliefs as well. None of this is good for your wellbeing.
Forgiveness is freedom. Freedom from the chains that are holding you down, freedom from the weight of the grudge. Forgiveness helps us grow and leads to healing. In this time of Thanksgiving, would you rather be under a cloud or out in the sun celebrating what is good in your life?
Forgiveness is a gift but it’s not a gift for those who have hurt you, it is instead a gift that you give yourself.
Written for Marlene by Amanda.