The healing power of real forgiveness and the deadly impact of unforgiveness
"Forgiveness releases you completely from the story of the pain and allows you to move forward in freedom in your life." Brandon Bays
As a young girl, I was playing in the garden of my family's home in Delhi. My older cousin sister and I got into an argument over a toy.
Our fight escalated and my aunt came running out. She turned to me angrily and shouted, "Say sorry! Say sorry to your sister, she's your elder sister. Say sorry to her!"
Feeling humiliated, I reluctantly turned to my sister and said "Sorry", but I didn't actually mean it. Perhaps you've experienced a similar situation when you didn't mean to say sorry, and yet you said it anyway?
Either you forgave the other person because you felt it was the right thing to do, or you felt forced into it. Or perhaps it is yourself who you've not forgiven.
The main reason this forced forgiveness doesn't work is because it is fake.
According to mind, body and spirit expert and author the international bestseller The Journey, Brandon Bays, “True forgiveness is one of the most releasing and freeing gifts we give ourselves. You can’t fake forgiveness. It has to come from an open heart. It has to be real. Otherwise, it is pointless. In order to truly forgive, you must be willing to open your heart and face and release the pain there. It requires humility. It requires us to give up the righteous indignation, get off our soapbox, let go of blame, and let go of pride of being right. It means we have to be willing to drop our victim story, soften our stance, and if necessary, let our hearts be broken wide open.”
Many of us do not realize that forgiveness has a remarkable healing power.
The first time I truly experienced the healing power of forgiveness, it broke my heart wide open. It was while attending my first ever Journey Seminar with Brandon Bays.
On the first day of the seminar, during an afternoon session, I imagined in my mind's eye that I was seated at a campfire that was enveloped a space of unconditional love and acceptance.
I brought to the campfire a person from a past negative incident. The person was a college batch mate who drugged me and then proceeded to subject my body to a violent attack.
The effect of the drug dosage paralyzed my body, rendering myself unable to physically or verbally move and communicate.
I kept screaming "Stop!" in my head, but the words couldn't come out of my mouth.
During the healing session, I began the process of forgiveness by first emptying out how I really felt as a result of the incident.
I emptied out from inside of me all the pent up and raw emotion- the hurt, the pain, the unfairness and the sheer anger towards him for violating my body in a manner that was completely inappropriate. As I emptied out the authentic pain of what I had bottled up for all those years, I felt so much lighter. After this, I gained a deep understanding of his motivation behind committing such a hurtful and violent act.
When I understood that he had such a low self-image and that his only option to feel good about himself was to hurt another being, I was able to let the issue go.
While I did not forgive his behaviour, I forgave his soul, or his essence. I completely forgave his being as I had understood that he was not his behaviour.
Then, most importantly, I forgave myself. Looking back, I never thought I would ever find myself in a place where I would be able to forgive him and myself and it happened and it is possible.
Much time has passed from my healing experience.
Since then, I have worked with thousands of clients in my private practice and have also conducted live demonstrations while facilitating Journey seminar in India, Middle East and South East Asia.
I never fail to be amazed and in awe of the healing power of forgiveness. I still wonder how a process that might seem so simple, can have such lasting effects. I have known families who have split up to come back together, illnesses to heal, as well as age-old financial blocks to repair themselves.
When we find it in our hearts to whole-heartedly forgive ourselves and others, it creates an opening that unlocks a sense of peace, health and wholeness.
Another story about the healing power of forgiveness is from Bangalore-based Manifestation Coach, Dr. Navolina Patnaik, who had an abusive childhood and a challenging relationship issue with her parents.
Through attending the Journey workshops, she realised that she was holding onto a victim identity which made it impossible to live life to her fullest potential.
During one of the sessions, she experienced ultimate peace, which also resulted in healing from a medical condition.
Navolina further shares, “I could finally forgive and accept my parents, forgiving my parents, myself, and God for my various life situations has given me the freedom and peace which I was yearning for.”
Now, even science is also backing up the healing power of forgiveness.
Shockingly it is now known that unforgiveness can make you sick and it is even classified as a disease in the medical books!
Forgiveness Therapy is being used to treat diseases such as cancer.
During an interview on CBN.com, Cancer Surgeon Dr Steven Standiford stated, “Unforgiveness makes people sick and keeps them sick. It is important to treat emotional wounds and disorders, as they can hinder someone’s reaction to treatments and even someone’s willingness to pursue treatment.”
You may be surprised to hear that out of all cancer patients, research has found that 61% have forgiveness issues; out of this, more than half of them are severe.
Dr Michael Barry says, “Negative emotions such as anger and hatred create chronic anxiety, which produces cortisol and adrenaline. This depletes the natural killer cells which are the body’s defense against cancer. When we truly forgive from the heart, one finds a sense of peacefulness, and patients feel lightness. We don’t realize what a burden anger and hatred is until we let it go.”
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So in closing, unforgiveness can have alarming consequences on our physical health and yet lip service forgiveness is not sufficient.
Forgiveness that heals requires us to empty out the stored pain, forgive with an open heart while gaining a depth of understating of the other person's perspective and most importantly to forgive ourselves.
If your heart is called to dive deeper and experience the exact steps to forgiveness that heals, then I invite you with all my heart to The Journey Seminar. You will not only learn the steps to forgiveness, you will also be able to experience it and integrate it into you life.
About the author: Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD) is a dynamic international speaker and trainer. She loves being able to share alternate therapy and coaching skills that enable real and rapid transformations. With a PhD in Cancer Research and her background in running a multi-billion dollar international business, she is currently the Founder of Vitality Living College.
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