Forgiveness is not reconciliation but in fact a release of anger or resentment and is fundamental within psychological and physiological health. Forgiveness is known to improve stress levels, depression, anxiety, lower blood pressure, enhance mood and elevate optimism. There may be scenarios in which a particular person cannot be given forgiveness, and as such may not be the best course of action. Forgiveness is often paired with the condoning of behaviour it is simply not. Forgiving a person is not the same as forgiving the action and thus helps us move on from past traumas and live in the present. It is possible to forgive someone and still want to seek justice for the trauma they are responsible for as forgiveness should not be combined with pardoning someone of their guilt or crime.
Psychologist Everett Worthington PhD had been studying the effects of forgiveness on mental health for almost a decade and was given the opportunity to put his research into practice when his mother was murdered in 1995. Everett forgave his mother’s murderer as did his brother and sister. This was not easy for them to do as a family and in 2005 ten years after his mother was murdered Everett’s brother committed suicide. After this traumatic event Worthington added self-forgiveness to his research and interests. After two decades of study Everett came up with steps to both forgiveness and self-forgiveness. Here at Therapeutic Counselling we aim to help people achieve a balanced mental health. Worthington has constructed step by step guide which can serve you as a help guide to forgiving.
REACH forgiveness of others is a five-step guide to forgiveness.
R = Recall the mental or physical pain you have endured.
E = Empathise with the person who has done wrong.
A = Altruistic gift, give forgiveness as a selfless gift.
C = Commit to letting go of hatreds and do not take back forgiveness.
H = Hold on to forgiveness and let go of the stress and anxiety over resentment of another.
Feelings of shame, remorse and guilt can plague us and here are some simple steps to help you in forgiving yourself correctly and in turn will reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Step one- Repair broken or strained relationships. If you cannot repair those relationships, there is always the other option of paying it forward so others do not go through the same experiences with you.
Step two- Sometimes a person may feel remorse or ashamed of their own actions as critic themselves too much and have high expectations. If this is the case noiw is time to change those expectations in lowering them slightly.
Step three- Go through REACH forgiveness steps for yourself.
Step four- Rebuild self-acceptance and realise you’re a valuable human that has imperfections just like everyone else.
Step five- Resolution comes once you have realised your mistakes, rectified them and know what not to do in future to repeat those mistakes.
If you would like any help in any stages of forgiveness or with past pain, we at Therapeutic Counselling are here for you in the form of one on one sessions. Call Angela Jenkins on 01209718246/07974845549.