Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Sunday, January 9, 2011

We Forgive to Live

It's not about the wrong-doers when we extend forgiveness for hurts they've caused us. It's about us. Forgiveness changes our lives.

Letting go of grudges that we've nursed frees us up for a happier, healthier life. Lower blood pressure, less stress and hostility, fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and chronic pain, and a lowered risk of alcohol and substance abuse are some benefits of being able to forgive, according to Mayo Clinic staff chaplain, Dr. Katherine Piderman. Healthier relationships and greater spiritual and psychological well-being are further advantages that forgiveness affords.
Forgiving takes time. No one can deny that we're entitled to our anger and resentment for awhile. But, tended too long, the fires of these feelings and thoughts begin to eat us up, to hold us hostage. Most of us have been there. I sure have. The lightness that came over me when I suddenly realized that I had forgiven those who'd hurt me was amazing. I'd integrated the whole experience into my life and eliminated the power that they'd continued to hold. As Michael Bolton told me in his song, I "could fly again."
The act of forgiving does not mean that we condone the behavior that wronged us. The people who hurt us are still responsible and accountable for their actions. And, forgiving others doesn't erase the wrong-doing or minimize it. Neither does it mean that we have to reconcile with those who hurt us or even tell them we forgive them. What does change is that we make the decision to let go of the resentment and anger so we can live our own lives more fully and happily.
Often, the hardest person to forgive is our self. We're afraid of hurting others again or making the same mistake. But, we need to realize that we are more than the wrong we committed or the mistake we made. Our qualities, talents, skills and capacity to love are still within our grasp. We can learn from what we did and move on. 

Forgiveness does not change the past, 
but it does enlarge the future.
  Les Brown


  1. Annis, I have to share that one of my most potent experiences of forgiveness came when I went through a very emotional ritual to forgive others who had hurt me. Right at the point where I was going to say I forgave them, the words that came out of my mouth were, "I forgive myself." I was astonished, because I had no idea those words were going to come out! Then I burst into tears as I realized the damage I had done to myself over the years by holding onto the anger and resentment at the people who had hurt me. Sometimes we have to look in the mirror when we consider forgiveness in our lives.

  2. Bobbi, this is such a beautiful story that illustrates the principles of forgiveness. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. xoA

  3. I read my favorite pithy saying about forgiveness in an Anne Lamot book: "Not forgiving is like eating rat poison and waiting around for the rat to die." Or something like that. Oh, but the poison is sometimes so delicious!

  4. I'm having to do that with a family member now. You want it to be "water under the bridge," but you feel as if dismissing the issue is somehow telling the person that what he/she did was OK. Like sending the wrong signal.