Find out why forgiveness might just be the most powerful emotion of all.
Some definitions of forgiveness focus on reducing unforgiveness. Many acts have the potential to reduce unforgiveness and are thus often confused with forgiveness. As one researcher put it, successful vengeance will eliminate unforgiveness.
"Forgiveness does not mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, condone bad behavior, justify the wrong or excuse the act. It certainly does not mean that you chose to remain in an abusive relationship or that you waive your right to justice and compensation," I explained to Jaylee.
I explained that at least two types of forgiveness appear in the literature: decisional forgiveness and emotional forgiveness.
• Decisional forgiveness is behavioral intention to no longer resist forgiving the transgressor.
• Emotional forgiveness is the replacement of negative unforgiving emotions with positive emotions. Emotional forgiveness, which involves psychophysiological changes, has more direct health and well-being consequences.
Jaylee could begin with decisional forgiveness and, hopefully, move on to emotional forgiveness. "The bottom line," I said, "is that forgiveness and forgiving appear to be crucial to healthy living." As Doctors Arnold and Barry Fox put it, when you say "I forgive you," you are also saying "I want to be healthy." The act of forgiving allows the body to decrease the amount of catabolic chemicals it produces and instead instructs the subconscious to banish negative feelings from the mind. "Forgiveness has less to do with others and everything to do with the forgiver. In this case, that would be you," I said to Jaylee.
"Think of it this way," I continued. "Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. A way to stop harboring destructive feelings. Forgiveness can improve your health. If you choose not to forgive, you will likely be the one who pays most dearly. A person living in unforgiveness, all the while wishing that the other person would die, is the one actually drinking the deadly poison. I know that you are accustomed to holding a grudge, but there is another way." WATCH OUT: 6 Signs You Might Cheat On Your Significant Other