The Power of Forgiveness Frees Your Superpowers
Most of us are so used to carrying our pain and traumas around with us, our validation and vindication to be mad at someone for something they did to us in our past. So much so we let that become a part of the story of who we are. There is research showing that this habit has been holding us back from knowing how strong we really are. This research suggests that the power of forgiveness can restore our personal well-being and physical strength to allow us to exceed our current physical limits. If becoming healthier and stronger from releasing weights we don’t realize we are carrying isn’t a superpower then what is?
“The benefits of forgiveness may go beyond the constructive consequences that have been established in the psychological and health domains. Our research shows that forgivers perceive a less daunting world, and perform better on challenging physical tasks.” –Xue Zheng, Ph.D.
Freeing Yourself: Forgiving
You can jump higher and farther, even walking up a hill seems easier after experiencing the feeling of forgiveness. And that experience can be something happening in the moment to cause the feeling, or even from focusing on the memory to elicit the feeling. Just as easily you can be burdened heavily by holding onto a state of un-forgiveness. Holding onto reasons to be angry and not forgive someone places you into a fight or flight state of mind, which signals your body with stress hormones that will cause damage if maintained too long at a time. Which can lead to increased risk of depression, heart disease, and other stress-related diseases. However; “Forgiving someone relieves stress and lowers blood pressure.” –Karen Swartz, M.D.
And while it may be hard, it’s harder on your body and well-being than you can see. It only really harms you to maintain it, so why would you want to? Maybe you see them as in the wrong, but that isn’t what stops you from forgiving them so that you aren’t carrying poisonous feelings in your own heart. What stops you is your inability to let yourself have the power to do so by how you define yourself relative to the triggering experience. You are identifying as having lost the power by their actions, making yourself the low power person always wary of the high power person.
The Power of Apology; Accepting & Giving
“An apology, as an expression of remorse, can be an effective response from a transgressor to obtain forgiveness from a victim. Yet, to be effective, the victim should not construe the transgressor’s actions in a cynical way. Because low-power people tend to interpret the actions of high-power people in a cynical way, we argue that an apology (versus no apology) from high-power transgressors should be relatively ineffective in increasing forgiveness from low-power victims.” –Xue Zheng, Ph.D.
The key takeaway in that quote is the power to forgive and the power to mitigate its effect all lies with the person who is hurt and how they decide to take the apology. You are the only one with the power to forgive the hurt you are carrying. Use your power and then see what happens in your life experience. You will probably agree afterwards that you do have a superpower. Especially if you make forgiveness a new habit that replaces the old one that trapped you in fight or flight state’s stressful reactions.