Excerpt from Chapter 6 of “Your Journey To Greatness Through Routine”
You can apply all you have learned throughout this book but you can be stopped right in your tracks from making progress if you have Un-forgiveness in your heart. This may seem like a peculiar subject for a book on “Greatness”. However, it could be the most important step in your journey. In fact, if you have struggled in the past with overcoming certain obstacles in your life or felt frustrated that you cannot make progress; this chapter could change everything for you!
First, let me make something clear: Forgiving a suffered wrong does not mean that you forget or that the offender is absolved of the offense. Wrong is wrong and the pain you may have suffered is real. Additionally, the choice is yours in the end. I hope you will take the time to read this chapter all the way through before making any decisions. Choosing to forgive is more about releasing you than it is about releasing them.
Ask yourself a few questions and try to stay objective with your responses:
By choosing not to forgive . . .,
. . . are you suffering emotionally, mentally or physically?
. . . are you resolving this issue and making life better or bitter?
. . . is it possible that you are damaging your relationships around you due to anxiety?
. . . could you be missing out on opportunities in life or career due to your state of mind and/or health conditions brought on by the un-forgiveness?
. . . could you be creating neural networks that are eschewing your perceptions on marriage, family, jobs, politics, religion, social interaction, investments, education, confidence and other areas?
. . . finally, do you feel the offender could be lying awake at night unable to sleep and feeling tormented because you don’t forgive them? (Not likely)
Let’s dive into just a few real consequences of choosing not to forgive, beginning with your mental and physical health:
SIX EMOTIONAL EFFECTS OF BITTERNESS (UN-FORGIVENESS)
- Prolonged mental and Emotional pain
- Anxiety and/or Depression
- Vindictive behaviors
- Cynicism and Pessimism
- Futility & Unhappiness
SIX PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF BITTERNESS (UN-FORGIVENESS)
- Back pain
- Abdominal conditions
- Unhealthy immune system
In 2010, Dr. Michael Barry wrote in his book, The Forgiveness Project, that 61% of cancer patients have forgiveness issues and of those, more than half are severe. He also stated, “Harboring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety.”
Furthermore, Dr. Steven Standiford, Chief of Surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, stated, “Refusing to forgive makes people sick and keeps them that way.”
Case Study #6: Deborah’s Story
Anxiety and depression were not strangers to Deborah. She had struggled with very serious issues for over a decade. Like so many of us, early in life, she came face to face with many situations and circumstances she simply did not know how to deal with. With each challenge, she gave it her best and then tried to make sense of it, often overthinking each issue. Deborah was and still is a person who carries a strong desire to be excellent in every way. In fact, she developed a habit of trying too hard to make things right or make others happy. Eventually, it ended up driving her to a place of deep dissatisfaction, not only in the outcomes of each challenge but even within herself.
In her attempts to gain some kind of relief, she tried a multitude of treatments, counselors and therapists. All of her attempts to resolve her issues availed very little, if any, results. At times, hopelessness tried to take over her.
Deborah had a decent career, a fine husband who loved her and children she cherished. However, the black cloud that was over her life was constant and unbearable. It had been so long since she felt “normal” about her problems that she had forgotten what it was like.
Furthermore, the fact that things were “not really as bad as they seemed” only made her feel worse about her depression because she couldn’t shake off the disappointment she had in herself. It could even be said that she was unable to forgive herself for the way she was processing life. This downward spiral had been out of control for so long that Deborah had completely lost her way back.
The company where she worked was holding their annual, all staff training day and I was the lunch keynote. The topic was Communicating with Resilience Under Pressure. For the first time in her life, Deborah had the opportunity to learn the science behind thoughts and how stress can alter our physiology. She became very intrigued with this possibility so she followed up after the training.
Our first discussion revealed her brokenness and desire to break free from the grip of the crippling effects of depression. However, she was very reluctant since nothing had worked for her in the past.
After some time passed, she realized she needed to try something different, so she took the leap and began her new journey.
She wrote out her personal vision statement and determined which goals would be most helpful to her, personally and professionally.
For 5 weeks straight, she filled her mind with powerful and insightful teachings through podcasts, audiobooks, quotes, articles, gratitude lists and much more, being sure to write down her thoughts and track her progress.
Deborah was learning to be consumed, daily, with positive, forward thinking and intentional information pushing her into her vision. With each passing day, it got easier and more fluent. She also worked on adopting very important habits to assist her in a complete routine makeover. She was exercising as often as she could, even if only for 15 or 20 minutes at time. She was visualizing and she was taking time out for herself and her family. In addition, she was becoming increasingly cognizant of empowering other people in her world, spreading joy and kindness. The more Deborah stepped out of her past and into her future, the more hope arose. After about 3 weeks, she was noticing dramatic changes in her physiology. She found herself smiling more, celebrating the small things more and enjoying life. She was finding new energy and was excited about where this was taking her.
After 6 weeks, Deborah made so much progress that it had become evident to her supervisor, her family members and all those who were close to her. So much so, they called to thank me and offer to buy more coaching so she could continue her journey out of darkness.
*Please note: Having a success routine is not an absolute cure for all cases of depression, however, our thoughts are very powerful in the composition of chemical balance for both body and mind. Deborah will have to keep up her success routine long term, if she is to recover completely. She did not get in her condition overnight and she will not reverse all of it overnight. However, she now has a chance and the tools she needs to continue her journey to recovery.
 Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201501/don-t-let-your-anger-mature-bitterness