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Forgiveness: It's Not for Them, It's for You

Andrea Seydel- Author of Saving You Is Killing Me: Loving Someone With An Addiction

Forgiveness: It's Not for Them, It's for You

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment, and even thoughts of revenge might bubble up for you. When you love someone with an addiction, the idea of Forgiveness initially seems like you are condoning the behaviour that comes with addiction. Embrace Forgiveness and move forward. Who hasn't been hurt by the actions or words of an addicted love one? Perhaps a spouse has manipulated you, lied to you, let you down or even stolen from you. 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,e we have to oppose the injustice caused us. 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 Forgiveness as a practice that can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

What is Forgiveness?

In his book Forgive For Good, Dr. Luskin talks about Forgiveness and offers efficient, easy-to-use techniques to lessen the suffering in our lives. 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." Based on scientific research, Dr. Luskin offers startling new insight into Forgiveness's healing powers and medical benefits. Forgiveness is not for another person. It is for you! 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? As forgiveness researcher Dr. Luskin puts it, that is another story. Pain caused by other people and the grief that often follows is from our reaction to what others have done. 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.

What Are Grievance Stories, and How do they take away our power?

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 alive forever. Many studies show that anger and hostility are harmful to our health and a precursor to depression. We don't want to suffer any more than we have to suffer. We need to realize we have a grievance causing suffering in our lives. 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. The funny thing is when you forgive; you don't let the perpetrator off the hook – you let yourself off the hook. Forgiveness is, according to Luskin, one option in a menu of choices you have to respond to the hurt in your life.

DO YOU HAVE A GRIEVANCE? Chances are, if you love someone with an addiction, you have a grievance story. Revisit that 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. It is likely painful.

Forgiveness Training:

Forgiveness studies conducted by Dr. Luskin specifically proved that people who completed his forgiveness training reported "a significant decrease in the symptoms of stress. 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. Notice a feeling of peace as you practice this forgiveness training.

  • ·Change the channel like a remote control: Switch the channel from the grievance story to the beauty, gratitude or nature channel.

  • Breaths of gratitude: Deep breathing and feeling gratitude for your life.

  • Take responsibility for how you feel: Notice the good things in your life

  • Positive Emotion Refocusing Technique:

  • Take hurt less personally: Balance the impersonal aspects of hurt with the person.

  • Challenge Unenforceable rules: Anytime you are upset with someone else's actions or something not going your way, you are trying to enforce an unenforceable rule. Instead, shift to hope and wishing instead of demanding.

  • Become a hero instead of a victim in the story you tell: Reconnect with your Positive Intentions and goals to change.

  • Practice telling a positive intention story.

  • Write a Hope Statement: What did you want in a situation that hurt? That can become your hope statement. For example, I hope for a loving relationship with a reliable, honest man with self-regulation that I can depend upon.

So many things that happen to us seem unforgivable. The pain of personal betrayal by a loved one, a spouse, a trusted friend, or coworker. The act of betrayal causes pain, but the memory of the betrayal often lingers in the form of grudges, painful wounds that never seem to heal, leaving emotional and psychic scarring. Thanks to Dr. Luskin's research on Forgiveness, he offers a practical method to take 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."-Luskin

For further support: Do not hesitate to listen to the SYKM podcast or purchase the book

You can also reach out to Andrea Seydel herself at

Here is the SYKM Podcast link:


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