Forgiveness can be difficult but so liberating

The roots of many health problems can be found in long-standing emotional issues, the key to resolving which is often forgiving either a person who hurt you or, quite often, yourself, writes Roisin Armstrong

Let it go – forgiving someone who has hurt you can help you move on in your life

ACCORDING to Wikipedia’s definition, “Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offence, let’s go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.

"Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), forgetting (removing awareness of the offence from consciousness), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).”

I am writing this on Sunday August 2, World Forgiveness Day, and while you will be reading this on the following Wednesday, it still seemed worthwhile to spend a little time contemplating forgiveness, probably one of the most challenging aspects of trying to live a thoughtful life.

It is really difficult when you feel aggrieved or offended to consider forgiveness. I work with many people with a vast array of health conditions, and increasingly over the years I have seen that so many of their physical problems have a basis in unresolved emotional issues. These can be incredibly varied; from incidents that happened in childhood, school days, to early work life or can be current and ongoing. The bottom line for most such issues is the need to forgive either the person who hurt you or, quite often, yourself, for whatever part you played.

Many situations that happen can be the result of very simple mistake and even a misinterpretation of an incident, which is why discussing a situation can make a big change. I often advise people to say out loud what their issue is – doing that immediately changes the energy and can in itself help to let it go.

Having another person’s opinion on what happened can also help, as long as you have chosen a wise friend who can see situations from both sides. I usually talk to a male friend when I’m really stuck on an issue, as blokes see things from a completely different angle and that perspective can be invaluable. Many of us have a too-sensitive trigger or some have a need to be offended. Toning this down can be an enormous gift to yourself.

Luckily modern therapies have tools which can help you to resolve hurts that have been carried for too long. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Matrix Reimprinting are some of the therapies whereby the memory of incident can be re-examined and with simple physical tapping on specific parts of the body the memory can be minimised until it no longer causes a physical or emotional response.

With Matrix Reimprinting you can even redraw the memory in your mind to give the outcome that you wish could have happened. Using these therapies can make immense changes to your physical and emotional health.

There are many trained therapists in these fields, myself included, and you can access a therapist in your area through or or there are many free links on You Tube for you to explore.

The world is full of challenges and difficulties. Some can be small, daily and easily resolved; others can be huge and plague your thoughts for years. Some can be national or worldwide issues which can affect the wellbeing of whole populations. But the point is that we can all make a difference to our own lives, to those around us and even to how we are as a society by just being open to even the possibility of forgiving.

I have found repeatedly too that ultimately forgiveness and letting go of the pin of unresolved issues is a choice. You have the power to stop letting things drag you down. Often you can perpetuate being a victim. It is not a great way to spend your life, resisting the freedom that forgiving a situation and letting it go would bring, allowing you up live the life that you should be enjoying.

To forgive, you do not always have to wait for an apology from the other person; forgiveness needs to be independent of that need. The other party must live with the consequences of their actions.

Forgiveness is not glossing over a problem or excusing it without consequences, or letting someone continue to treat you badly. It's always important to first get out of a dangerous situation, such as a violent or abusive relationship. Forgiveness is a personal decision to not allow anger, hurt and resentment to control your life, and to forgive someone who has wronged you.

  • Roisin Armstrong is a kinesiologist and acupuncturist with clinics in Belfast and Holywood. For appointments call 0777 0862 637 or Portglenone 028 2582 1333.

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