Forgiveness is a skill that can be acquired like any other. Dr. Luskin from the Forgiveness Project developed a technique called PERT or Positive Emotion Refocusing Technique to help reduce anger-related stress. Those that successfully learned to utilize the technique experienced a 70% decrease in hurt feelings. They also experienced decreases in headaches, stomachaches, dizziness, tiredness and muscle tension.
The Forgiveness Project suggested several steps toward forgiveness that anyone might employ. Talk to someone that you rust about your feelings. Consider first that forgiveness is for you and no one else. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you approve of what happened to cause your anger; rather it is a necessary step in letting go of your anger. Remind yourself that the hurt that you are experiencing is coming from your feelings right now, not from weeks, months or years ago. Know that bad feelings will come back again; prepare yourself by learning a relaxation technique such as progressive muscle relaxation, mediation, prayer or another technique of your choosing. Discipline yourself in not replaying the hurtful incident over and over; it will keep your grudge alive. Live a happy and meaningful life; the best message that you can send the offender. Stop relinquishing your power and energy to the person that hurt you. You are not the victim any longer.
As we approach the holiday season, forgiveness may be the greatest gift that you can give yourself and to others around you. It is not easy and it does take practice, however forgiveness can make a dramatic difference in your life. The good news is that you control forgiveness completely. Is there someone out there that you can forgive today? Remember, all kids count.
Scot Hurlburt can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org