Forgiveness is a potent tool on a journey of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. That’s why on September 27th, National Day of Forgiveness encourages us to develop realistic methods for incorporating forgiveness in our lives.
The act of forgiveness is powerful. But, granting forgiveness is more than an act – it’s a process. Forgiveness teaches us about ourselves as much as it teaches us about others. Whether a person suffers from mental or emotional pain, grief, or trauma, forgiveness can set us on a path of healing. Forgiveness can also develop into a practice that teaches us to value compassion, kindness, and love.
Myths About Forgiveness
Forgiveness means different things to different people, but there are myths associated with forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean:
- Continuing a relationship.
- Approving the other person’s behavior.
- One person wins, and the other loses.
There is no requirement to continue a relationship with someone you forgive. Many relationships do not remain the same after forgiveness. Accepting that or choosing to let a relationship end also helps us heal. Though, forgiveness can repair some relationships, especially if the receiver understands that forgiveness does not condone the behavior.
Forgiveness sets us free and allows us to begin the process of healing. When we truly forgive, it is easy(ier) to forget because what once plagued us is no longer wired the same in our neural network. We can remember if needed, but after forgiveness, the memory fades into the far distance only to be retrieved if needed for ‘relatability’ (or a story). Even then, there is no “charge” associated with the memory anymore.
Forgiveness doesn’t always happen in an instant, either, though it can. A single verbal statement doesn’t complete the process. However, over time and with willingness and some practice, we can let go of our anger, bitterness, and resentment. Forgiveness is a decision.
While granting forgiveness may be challenging, it comes with a wealth of benefits. During the process, we may discover the person we need to forgive most is ourselves. Self-forgiveness is another healthy tool to learn. Thus, National Day of Forgiveness also offers an opportunity to understand the benefits of forgiveness.
- Forgiveness relieves stress. The stress we feel from anger, resentment, and bitterness lessens and even fades entirely. The burden of these feelings creates anxiety and stress that we no longer have to carry when we forgive.
- The act of forgiveness helps us to close a wound. When we forgive, we give ourselves permission to heal. There is freedom in healing.
- When we forgive, we also give ourselves permission to stop living in the past. We focus less on the damaging feelings and begin to look forward to the future. When we detach from the heaviness, anger, pain, and resentment, we no longer allow the past to control us.
- Forgiveness also benefits our physical health. Reduced anxiety and stress mean lower blood pressure, a stronger heart, and an improved immune system. It may also help reduce physical pain.
Reflecting on our ability to forgive ourselves leads to an ability to cope with difficult and traumatic situations. As a result, we reap the benefits of mental and emotional wellbeing.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL DAY OF FORGIVENESS
On September 27th, consider taking the path of forgiveness. Other ways of participating in National Day of Forgiveness include:
- Developing a plan of forgiveness.
- Read about forgiveness. We recommend The Pursuit of Forgiveness 2.0 by Melissa Reese, The Gift of Forgiveness by Katherine Schwarzenegger, Forgive & Forget; Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve by Lewis B. Smedes, and Ho’oponopono: Your Path To True Forgiveness by Dr. Matt Jamesd
- Forgive someone, especially yourself.
- Heal a relationship.
- Give to an organization that speaks to you and promotes love and forgiveness. A couple of organizations that fit that description are the Choose Love Movement and the Boys & Girls Club of America.
- Learn about pragmatic forgiveness by visiting thepursuitofforgiveness.com
Also, on September 27th, you can download a free recording download from The Pursuit of Forgiveness website. And don’t forget to share your experiences with forgiveness by using #NationalDayOfForgiveness on social media.
NATIONAL DAY OF FORGIVENESS HISTORY
In 2021, Melissa Reese: the Pursuit Guru, founded National Day of Forgiveness. The author of The Pursuit of Forgiveness 2.0 is on a mission to help people overcome that which causes them mental and emotional pain, grief, trauma, “stuckness,” and discomfort. National Day of Forgiveness encourages realistic approaches to forgiveness and developing our ability to forgive.
The Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed the first National Day of Forgiveness to be observed on September 27th and every year thereafter.