How to Practice Forgiveness!
In my role as a mother, I feel that teaching my kids how to recognise, identify, and process their emotions is one of the most important skills that I can teach them. There are often outbursts of anger from both of my sons as they have fiery personalities.
One evening recently irritations were rising and they started to get a bit physical with each other. We separated them and they both went to bed incredibly upset. My husband was angry too. It is hard when faced with flaring anger and confrontation to stay calm. We always try to assure the boys that we love them even when they have misbehaved as we want them to know that our love is unconditional. Interestingly on this occasion, it was by showing them lots of love in their grief and extreme anger that allowed them to practice forgiveness, apologise and make friends again.
I have noticed over the years that one of my boys tends to want to cover his ears, hide and run away from situations when he is overwhelmed. This is often followed by an earache the next day interestingly. The other gets enraged, loses his temper and then tends to move into a self-blaming place of shame which is overly dramatic and also detrimental to his health and happiness.
I grew up in a household where there was next to no shouting or raised voices. I like the fact that my kids express their anger but the trick is to get them to express it safely and without collateral damage! We aren’t there yet. In fact, I am amazed our sitting-room door is still on its hinges after the repeated slamming!
A few years ago I attended a course on Non-Violent Communication. It was one of the most challenging activities I have ever undertaken. It felt like learning a totally new language. Not that I was particularly aggressive or violent in my speech previously, but there were subtleties that I had not previously thought about that could be improved upon. One stumbling block was that even at age 40, I was struggling to identify what I was actually feeling. We were given a list of emotions to peruse and that helped a lot but I really did feel a first like I was having to recognise a whole new vocabulary of emotions in my being. It was noticeable however that by being more specific about the quality of the emotion I was feeling, I had more chance of communicating clearly and with empathy.
The four components of Non-Violent Communication (as developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg) are:
- Observing (and being aware if we are also evaluating)
- Feelings ( identifying and expressing how we are feeling in a responsible manner)
- Needs (identifying one’s own needs and enquiring about and sensing others’ needs)
- Requests (asking for actions that might fulfil our needs and enrich our lives)
I believe that if we are clearer about what we are feeling and why, then it will be easier to practice forgiveness. If you are interested, do visit the link above to learn more about NVC and to find out about courses and resources on how to communicate with compassion.
Is anger slowly killing you?
If our immunity is down then cancer is more likely to grow. Of course, the aetiology is multi-factorial but if we can maintain a harmonious energetic field in our bodies then we are well on the way to staying healthy. Recent estimates by the World Health Organization suggest that by 2030 depression and stress-related problems will be the most debilitating and widespread health disorders on the planet, closely followed (rather tellingly) by autoimmune disease and allergy.**
*Brod S1, Rattazzi L, Piras G, D’Acquisto F. “As above, so below” Examining the interplay between emotion and the Immune System. Immunology. 2014 Jun 18.
**The Physiological and Psychological Effects of Compassion and Anger. Glen Rein, Mike Atkinson, and Rollin McCraty. Journal of Advancement in Medicine. 1995; 8(2): 87-105.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and
then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
If we are to teach our young people to manage and express their anger in a positive way and to show forgiveness, then we must model these qualities ourselves. If you are a parent, it’s easy to insist that your child apologises and let’s go of their frustration but perhaps we as adults struggle with that too. Forgiveness can be difficult, but one thing is for sure, if we don’t forgive, the person that mostly suffers is ourselves.
Emotions that are unexpressed and unresolved can become trapped in our bodies and lead to more stress and eventually illness. Louise Hay wrote in her book Heal your life that the underlying emotional basis for developing cancer is longstanding resentment and hatred.
It is crucial that we learn to release these trapped emotions and improve our ability to understand others’ choices, with compassion and empathy. Options to help release these trapped emotions are Emotion Code and EFT, Matrix Reimprinting and Sound Therapy. I explain more about these modalities in my post on energy healing.