Forgiveness by Barbara Bruce

Research is being conducted in laboratories around the world on the physical and mental aspects of forgiveness and its effect on health and longevity. These studies give evidence to the fact that our conscious act of forgiveness increases self-esteem, lessens anxiety and anger, lowers heart rate, reduces blood pressure and the best part is there is no prescription involved. Learning to forgive is clearly associated with a variety of health issues. By reducing negative energy and incorporating a forgiving attitude, you can enlarge the positive aspects of mental and physical health.

So, you may query – just what is forgiveness and how can I get some? Forgiveness is simple but never easy. It is truly a change of mind and heart. It is relatively easy to verbalize, “I forgive him”, but that is only half of the process. The second half is much more difficult, and yet it is the key factor. You must convince yourself that whatever this person has done to you is over – it is done. You cannot change the person. You cannot change history, there is no magic that will undo and recover what has happened. Let it go! Get on with your life.  I said it wasn’t easy.

The cognitive realization that we need to stop these ill feelings for our own health and well being may be the catalyst that motivates and encourages the work involved in forgiveness. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, founder of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said: “To forgive is the highest form of self-interest. I need to forgive so that my anger and resentment and lust for revenge don’t corrode my being.”

It is important to realize that forgiving and forgetting are not the same thing. We may never forget, but we have the power to forgive. Pope John Paul II exemplified this concept to the world when he forgave Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot him. The Pope’s body bore the scars of his wounds. But he lived and acted upon his unlimited faith and belief in the concept of forgiveness. This ultimately means letting go of wanting to make the other person suffer as you did. It means relinquishing your attachment to your ill feelings. Forgiveness is a powerful and difficult thing to do. But, if done sincerely, forgiveness of the wrong done to you will begin to loosen the bounds of alienation that can squeeze the life out of your mind and heart.

Forgiveness is never easy, but the reward will be a liberating of your mind, body, and spirit. Forgiveness can create a positive energy to live more fully and completely. Try it!


Barbara Bruce is an educator with a passion for teaching/learning about both  the learning brain and a holistic approach to successful aging.   To learn more about Barbara, including her books and upcoming workshops, please visit:

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