Are Your Emotions Holding You Hostage? 8 Steps To Forgiveness



She broke your heart in a wrongful way. He changed your career from “game changing” to “game over” for good.  It happens to all of us. Hurtful actions by others which come down hard and ultimately have a monumental effect on our life – and health.  Some incidences are purposeful and some are…just random acts of life…

So do you practice forgiveness and excuse that person involved in crashing in on your life? Or do you just stay angry, frustrated and forget about it all? Do you just shove your negative emotions to the back burner in hopes to kindle a new fire somewhere else or with someone else?

I will share a real life experience with you here, to which I hope many of you will never actually have to relate:

Several years back I was exclusively dating a man whom I trusted. He held a position of civil and community authority. I later came to discover that he had been unfaithful to me with many different women, many times over during the entire length of our relationship. I was humiliated, angry, hurt and overall pretty disguised with him. I sought relief for my hurt by visiting with family, friends, counselors and spiritual leaders as I was determined to seek answers, solutions, resolve and emotional comfort.

Then one afternoon I met with an Ayurvedic doctor who was also a friend of mine. When I revealed the circumstances and emotions I felt, he quietly reserved his response: “Pam, first, you must have created some pretty bad karma before to have to experience this.” I laughed but was still feeling disgusted and sad from it all. He said, “You know, the best way for you to heal through this is to forgive him and make him your greatest teacher.” I smirked and said, “Really?” “Make him my teacher?” I couldn’t believe that was his advice.  It certainly wasn’t making me feel any better at all.

But I went home that night and really thought hard about his words and message. I certainly didn’t want to have and hold hatred for anyone nor feel so much hurt, disrespect and humiliation any longer. I decided in a moment that I absolutely had to heed his advice. And I did.

So I forgave this man who betrayed me. Let’s just say it wasn’t an overnight absolution; It was more like a six month journey whereby I truly had to learn the lessons of what this devastating circumstance taught me. Ahhhh…the lessons!

I knew in my heart of hearts that if I held onto the humiliation, pain and disgust of it all, I would only be hurting myself and creating barriers to move forward. I’m a forward moving gal. I had to dig deep and let it all go.

I had to and ultimately did forgive him. Whew…is karma really a b*&$h? You betcha!

Well, research has some very profound findings about UN-forgiveness and how it can have an absolute effect on your attitude, well being and ultimate wellness. Dr. Michael Barry is a pastor and author of The Forgiveness Project. He states that “Harboring negative emotions of anger and hatred create a state of chronic anxiety which produces adrenaline and cortisol”. These stress hormones deplete the production of natural killer cells which your body uses to fight against free radicals that cause cancers and chronic disease.”

So do you practice forgiveness or just forget?

Most of us can’t really forget a devastating, heartbreaking, painful incident in our life. It remains there in our memory box. However, you certainly can learn how to forgive those involved with causing the pain. And that is exactly what you need to do to keep your own health at it optimum level. You also need to attach a meaningful life lessons to that awful memory so that memory will no longer cause continued grief. But instead, it becomes associated with an important learning experience which will allow you to move forward and create positive momentum in your life.

They say you must forgive from the heart in order to heal yourself. I believe this is true. You can’t just utter the words, “I forgive you” if they aren’t spoken with sincerity. This is often a challenge because the pain of the event surfaces and you almost seem to relive the same event as if it happened yesterday. Imagine just how emotionally devastating this is to your body…to keep reliving a painful event (in your mind) even though it may have occurred a year, 5 years or 10 years ago. Each time you replay that event in your mind, your body reacts exactly the same way: producing stress hormones.

Wouldn’t you just love to feel free of the hurt and anger? Do you understand how these emotions are actually holding YOU captive? You become a prisoner of the past.

So how do you move beyond your own anger, humiliation, hatred, or frustration? For me, it was a matter of a strong desire to feel happy, content, centered and having my “joie de vie” back. I simply did not want to wallow in pain (and tears) any longer.

You can make the switch too! Here are the “baby” steps:

  1. Decide that you want to be out of pain/anger.
  2. Understand that you can ONLY control your own life and thoughts.
  3. Know that dwelling on the past keeps you in the past.
  4. Use your faith in God, the universe, a greater spirit to guide you to forgiveness.
  5. Truly forgive from your heart–don’t just utter the words “I forgive you.”
  6. Appreciate the many great blessings you have already.
  7. Adopt the perspective that this painful event occurred to teach you a lesson. So learn from it. Be thankful you have the wisdom to understand the bigger picture.
  8. Take your earnings (those invaluable life lessons) and run……walk, skip, or jump. There is so much of life waiting for you to join in!

Remember, your body is like a bank account. If you fill it most of the time with negative emotions, such as anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, frustration, envy or hate your account will show a “negative” balance. Eventually it will become depleted (overdrawn) resulting in chronic disease and illness. Instead, make many deposits of forgiveness, contentment, joy, bliss, happiness and love. They are powerfully positive emotions which your body will use to optimize your wellness! Build your positive (emotional) bank account. Now THAT is true wealth!

Keep Living Life Passionately!


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