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Is not forgiving bad for our health?


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9 replies to this topic

#1
TheUKLibertarian

TheUKLibertarian

  • 4 posts

I know Stefan talks a lot about how forgiveness isn't something you can choose and forgiving people who haven't earned it would be bad for your psychological health.

 

But I just watched this short video by the screenwriter Geoff Thompson where he makes a convincing argument that holding on to anger towards people who have wronged you can mess up your brain as you are holding onto anger sometimes for decades that is keeping stress levels up and leading to illnesses and bad health.

 

He talks about bumping into a childhood abuser, telling him that he ruined his early life and then saying he forgives him.

 

I'd be interested to hear thoughts on the video and where you think he gets it wrong if you disagree with his point of view.


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#2
Honest

Honest

  • 18 posts

I think the crux of the issue is what exactly is meant by "forgiveness," and whether not forgiving is the same or requires being angry to the point of it affecting your health, which I don't know that it does.

 

By the way, your link doesn't go to the video, it links back to this thread. Thought I was going crazy for a little bit.


  • 1

If the truth shall kill them, let them die.


#3
LovePrevails

LovePrevails

  • 1372 posts

forgiving =/= letting it go

 

if someone makes restitution you forgive them

if they don't eventually you'll want to let it got

 

that is my pwersonal view on it


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#4
TheRobin

TheRobin

  • 820 posts

There seems to be this false dilemma of either being angry or forgiving as the only two optons.

 

If a person is constantly and unchangeingly behaving in an mean or aggressive manner towards you and as a result that makes you angry (cause you don't want that to happen), then that's a good thing. The question is more what do you do then. If you talk to said person and they don't care and don't change their behaviour then surely, it will get to your health, but more so because you're constantly being near a threat, which will trigger the respective bodily imulses and hormones.
Another option would be to leave, once it's clear the person won't change as a means of self-protection. That way you won't be constantly angry, cause you're not constantly around that person.
Forgiveness would be when the person understand and acknowledges his or her bad behaviour and makes restitution and changes hsi behaviour. That way you can have a more happy and mutually beneficial relationship, which is healthy too.

Most people don't accept or understand or act in the knowledge, that they can leave a situation at any time (usually at least). And since that doesn't even seem to be on the table as an option this false dilemma is created that only serves to perpetrate to problem instead of really solving it.

Forgiveness as it's described usually just means surpressing one's own emotions towards people in one's life, which itself isn't healthy either. It's the sacrifice of one's own happyness and energy for the sake of others who don't want to change and don't want to treat you in a respectful or nice manner, so this only serves bad people in the end at the cost of the good people.


  • 4

#5
dsayers

dsayers

    man in a pink bunny suit


  • 1325 posts

Phrases like "hold on to" and "let it go" are vague. It's not up to me whether or not I experienced something in the past. I could no more choose to hold on to an experience than I could choose to let it go. What I can do is study it to understand how it made me feel, what those feelings mean, and so on.

 

I think when the voluntary phrase "hold on to" is used, it's meant to refer to the involuntary experience of not being able to think of something other than what's being "held on to." This would be an indication that the person has not studied it to understand how it makes them feel, what those feelings mean, and so on. Their subconscious preoccupation is an indication that it needs processing. To "let it go" would be very unhealthy.

 

If you drive your car into a brick wall, you need to remember how it felt and the property damage that was caused to you, your car, the brick wall. Otherwise, what's stopping you from doing it again? Our ability to remember our experiences and especially the processing of the traumatic experiences saves us both from being subjected to those experiences in the future as well as subjecting others to similar experiences because of us.

 

It's not just for the traumatic either. If we find ourselves the beneficiaries of a very satisfying experience, to process it will help us understand how to achieve satisfaction in the future as well as provide satisfaction for others. There is no flaw in allowing knowledge (and experiences if we have self-knowledge) to accumulate and improve who we are overall.


  • 2

I am interested in the truth. I welcome all corrections and critiques.

 

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#6
threebobs

threebobs
  • 448 posts

To the OP:

 

 

I once was so obsessively angry at someone that I started getting daily panic attacks.  I wasn't right for 6 months.

 

 

It wrecked me.


  • 0

It is not he or she or them or it that you belong to.


#7
JamesP

JamesP


  • 3642 posts
Forgiveness is like hunger. You cannot will yourself to not be hungry–you must consume food. Likewise, you cannot will forgiveness. It occurs when the person who wronged you feeds you their responsibility, their empathy, and their restitution.

Whereas avoiding your hunger will result in death, the offender avoiding seeking forgiveness will result in the death of that relationship.
  • 3

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#8
TheUKLibertarian

TheUKLibertarian

  • 4 posts

Guys, thanks for the great responses so far. Just to let you k now I edited the OP with the correct link which will help the discussion I'm sure. Here it is again. I'll just wait before jumping back in to see what else people have to say and in case anybody wants to add anything with the full context of how he means forgiveness (or at least what you can get from the clip).


  • 0

#9
Slavik

Slavik

  • 39 posts

I know Stefan talks a lot about how forgiveness isn't something you can choose and forgiving people who haven't earned it would be bad for your psychological health.

 

But I just watched this short video by the screenwriter Geoff Thompson where he makes a convincing argument that holding on to anger towards people who have wronged you can mess up your brain as you are holding onto anger sometimes for decades that is keeping stress levels up and leading to illnesses and bad health.

 

He talks about bumping into a childhood abuser, telling him that he ruined his early life and then saying he forgives him.

 

I'd be interested to hear thoughts on the video and where you think he gets it wrong if you disagree with his point of view.

Speaking about my personal experiences only.  I have never given forgiveness to those who hurt me, and never asked for me to forgive them .  What happened instead, is I allowed myself to feel anger at them, without self attack.  After confronting them about them causing me pain, and them ignoring it all together, I took at information to heart and removed them from my life completely.  I can safely say this:  I no longer feel anger at them, they are no longer around me, and I no longer care about them.  Im free and this past no longer bothers me.  


  • 2

#10
cherapple

cherapple

    Cheryl H


  • 434 posts

Forgiveness is like hunger. You cannot will yourself to not be hungry–you must consume food. Likewise, you cannot will forgiveness. It occurs when the person who wronged you feeds you their responsibility, their empathy, and their restitution.

Whereas avoiding your hunger will result in death, the offender avoiding seeking forgiveness will result in the death of that relationship.

 

I would like to add that avoiding the truth of what someone did to you – forgiving as forgetting – results in forgetting yourself ("dying") for the benefit of someone else. To live and be oneself, and to experience a joyful and true relationship with oneself and others – is a hunger. 


  • 2

~*~*~

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live."

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe





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