“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” ~Alexander Pope
People make mistakes, and often do not apologize for these mistakes. To hold onto a grudge, however, does not hurt the person you are angry with. It also does not resolve the situation. On the contrary, resentment and anger only end up hurting you.
Negative emotions can increase your levels of stress, which affects the immune system, increases blood pressure, and leads to higher levels of anxiety and chronic pain. A weakened immune system can cause physical illness. Furthermore, negative emotions can lead to negative coping mechanisms, such as overeating, alcohol and drug abuse.
Negative emotions also affect the way you see your life and the way you relate to others. If you hold on to resentment, it shows. A resentful person has a tendency to complain. Let’s face it, complaining is not attractive. Think of it this way, nobody wants to be around a Debbie Downer.
Allow me to present an idea to you: forgiveness makes you a better person. Not only do you release the stress caused by resentment, but you also become the bigger person in the situation. Furthermore, you become a stronger person. Strength of character makes you a shining example to others.
In yoga, we talk about connecting the mind to the body using the breath. What ends up occurring when we slow down the breath is that the mind slows down and allows room for the heart to heal. Many people are drawn to yoga to heal themselves from emotional crises. I was one of those people who greatly benefited from the opening of the heart. I used yoga to deal with an immediate emotional crisis, a break up. What ended up happening over time is that I healed my heart from a lifetime of hurt.
It is possible to heal your heart, no matter what the cause of the heartache. I highly encourage you to begin today. Begin with one person you are angry with. Today, and everyday until you feel better, proclaim forgiveness to that person. As you are audibly professing your forgiveness, I would encourage you to deepen your breath and open your heart. If you cry, then you cry, but at least you are beginning to work the negative emotions out of your body.
Remember, forgiveness is a process. You will not heal yourself overnight, but you have to start sometime. If not now, when? The time to begin healing is now!