FORGIVE FOR GOOD: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness Book Summary
By Andrea Seydel The Book Doula|Publisher| Book Club Host
WARNING: HOLDING A GRUDGE CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH!!
When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or you can embrace Forgiveness and move forward.
Who hasn't been hurt by the actions or words of another? Perhaps a parent repeatedly criticized you growing up, a colleague sabotaged a project, or your partner hid a drug addiction. Or maybe you've had a traumatic experience, such as being physically or emotionally abused by someone close to you. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness — even vengeance. Perhaps we feel that, in principle, we have to oppose this injustice. So we can get stuck in our suffering.
But if you don't practice Forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing Forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how Forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
What is Forgiveness? According to Dr. Fred Luskin's "Forgiveness," notes the author, "is a complex experience that changes an offended person's spiritual feelings, emotions, thoughts, actions, and self-confidence level. I believe learning to forgive the hurts and grudges of our life may be an important step for us to feel more hopeful and spiritually connected and less depressed." In his book Forgive For Good, Dr. Luskin talks about all the power of Forgiveness and offers very practical, easy-to-use techniques to lessen the suffering in our lives.
This book offers startling new insight into the healing powers and medical benefits of Forgiveness based on scientific research. Fred Luskin, Ph.D., is one of the world's leading researchers and teachers on the subject of Forgiveness. He is the director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, a series of research projects investigating forgiveness methods.
Dr. Fred Luskin offers a proven method for Forgiveness that makes it possible to move beyond being a victim to a life of improved health and contentment. Luskin offers techniques for moving beyond hatred, anger, resentment, and grudges.
Luskin notes that scientific studies have shown that forgiveness training can reduce depression, increase hopefulness, decrease anger, improve spiritual connection, increase emotional self-confidence, and heal relationships.
Pain is unavoidable in life, but suffering? Ah, that is another story.
The pain that has been caused by other people and the suffering that often follows is from our reaction to what others have done to us. Suffering is workable. Suffering can even be considered optional. Forgiveness is only one response of many you can choose from when you are hurt. Forgiveness is a skill you can learn.
He divides his book into three parts: creating a grievance, the science of Forgiveness; and Forgiveness techniques, called the Art of Forgiveness.
Grievance Story: creating a grievance
Behind much of the pain, suffering, and loss in our lives is the story we tell ourselves about how we were mistreated.
As Luskin cleverly puts it, "renting too much space to disappointment." First, we exaggerate how much we have been offended by a parent, friend, boss, or mate. Then we blame everything on this person and nurture the pain we feel over an extended period. By dwelling on our wounds, we give them power over us. Such grievance stories can lead to serious physical, mental, and spiritual problems. The grievance story keeps hurt alive forever.
We need to realize we have a grievance causing suffering in our lives. 1. an exaggerated taking of personal offence 2. blaming the offender for how you feel 3. the creation of a grievance story
Instead of playing these tapes repeatedly in our heads, Luskin recommends we use forgiveness techniques designed to help us take a hurt less personally, assume responsibility for how we feel, and become a hero instead of a victim in the story we tell.
DO YOU HAVE A GRIEVANCE? Revisit an internal wound. Write down a summary of the experience. Examine what happens when you think about this situation today. Notice how your body reacts when you revisit the hurt.
Forgiveness Scientific Research
The science of Forgiveness consists of numerous rigorously conducted studies on the physical and mental, and emotional benefits that flow from Forgiveness; not least is enhanced appreciation of gratitude, faith, and care that all positively impact cardiovascular functioning.
Many studies show that anger and hostility are harmful to cardiovascular health. People who have difficulty managing anger have higher rates of heart disease and suffer more heart attacks.
But the forgiveness studies conducted by Dr. Luskin specifically proved that people who completed his forgiveness training reported "a significant decrease in the symptoms of stress." They even maintained this improvement in a follow-up study done four months later.
Northern Ireland study showed that those who received forgiveness training "showed statistically valid increases in physical vitality and well-being and decreased anger, stress, and grief."
Bad things happen in life. But we don't need to dwell on them. Luskin recommends spending as much time searching out beauty, gratitude, and love in our lives as we spend nursing our wounds. He likens this to a remote control that can change channels from the grievance channel to the gratitude, beauty, nature, or love channel.
Luskin outlines a series of small techniques to slowly and gradually get ready to forgive and then actually start forgiving. The funny thing is when you forgive; you don't let the perpetrator off the hook – you let yourself off the hook.
According to Luskin, Forgiveness is one option in a menu of choices you have to respond to the hurt in your life. He presents various healing techniques: changing the channel, breath of thanks, heart focus, and PERT (short for positive emotion refocusing technique).
Forgiveness takes place by undoing each of the steps of the grievance process. We learn to balance the impersonal aspect of hurt with the person. We take responsibility for how we feel when someone hurts us. Finally, we change our grievance story to a forgiveness story, where we become the hero instead of the victim.
Walk your grievance story and practice Forgiveness. Notice a feeling of peace as you:
1. Take a hurt less personally.
2. Take responsibility for how you feel. (Notice the good things in your life)(PERT Positive Emotion Refocusing Technique) (Change the Channel on your Remote Gratitude, Love, Beauty, Channels ) (Breath of Thanks) (Challenge Unenforceable rules: anytime you are upset with the actions of someone else or something not going your way, you are trying to enforce an unenforceable rule-change from demanding to hoping or wishing) Eg, My Partner, must not lie to me. My past should have been different.
3. Become a hero instead of a victim in the story you tell. (Reconnect with your Positive Intentions and goals to change your grievance story) (What was my reason for being in my grievance story? What was my goal in favourable terms? Promise yourself not to tell the grievance story any longer. Practice telling the positive intention story.)
BONUS HEAL method: H Is for Hope Statement. (what did you want in a situation that hurt?) E is for Educate Statement. (even though... I understand...) A is for Affirm. (your positive intentions). L is for the Long-term. ( I make a long-term commitment to...)
FINAL REFLECTION AND FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
So many things that happen to us seem unforgivable. The pain of personal betrayal by a loved one, a spouse, a trusted friend, a business partner, a boss or a coworker. The act of betrayal causes pain, but the betrayal's memory often lingers in the form of grudges, painful wounds that never seem to heal, leaving emotional and psychic scarring.
Forgive for Good is a very practical book taking you step by step through a healing process that helps you get relief from your suffering.
"Forgiveness is the practice of extending your moments of peacefulness; Forgiveness is the power that comes from knowing a past injustice does not have to hurt today. Forgiveness is available anytime, completely under your control. It does not rely on the actions of others; it is a choice you alone can make."
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