Promoting Your Wellness By Forgiving Others
Last updated: October 2023
As blood cancer survivors our priority is to promote wellness in every aspect of our lives. I recently read several articles suggesting that forgiving and forgetting can improve our health and well-being.
Strained family relations
This piqued my interest as I have had several strained relationships with my family. I found myself resenting two family members who continued a relationship with a particular family member who had gravely hurt me.
Every time my family would visit or attend a function with this particular family member I would be hurt and angry. Feeling that these family members were disloyal, made me unhappy with negative feelings. I found myself holding a grudge. This affected my relationship with these two family members. I resented their relationship with this particular family member. How could they accept his behavior towards me without consequences? I became sad and spent too much time thinking about my negative feelings and thoughts. This led to frustration and avoidance of family get-togethers.
Forgiveness means letting go
I found a statement by author Ann Christine Recine most interesting. It suggests that forgiveness takes time, letting go of these negative thoughts and emotions while trying to substitute those with positive thoughts. It is not pretending everything is fine. She suggests when you forgive, the negative thoughts will go away and research indicates you may experience less anger, depression, improved sleep, and increased life satisfaction.
The author suggests that you find ways to calm yourself when thinking about difficult situations. I wish I had tried this earlier. Negative thoughts related to this family turmoil added to my response to the first chemotherapy treatment which resulted in a hospital admission.
Strategies to help reach forgiveness
Recommended strategies to assist with forgiveness include:
- Practicing Gratitude- Start a journal to identify things for which you are grateful. This activity can promote positive feelings.
- Think of the most loving and accepting person in your life and channel them when negative feelings are present. This strategy is effective. In difficult times, I say to myself, “What would mom do?” I find this comforting.
- Write a letter to the person who hurt you. Write your feelings and thoughts surrounding the situation. Explain why you feel hurt and how the other person’s actions have affected you. I found this helpful. You can decide if you will share it with the person, burn it or file it for another time. I have written my feelings and have filed it at this time.
- Look to the future. Try not to dwell on the past. Is there a way to move forward? Can you openly discuss your needs in the relationship? I am working on this strategy.
How do you feel about your support system?