Forgive and Be Happy

The secret to happiness isn’t a secret anymore. Find out why forgiving can
make you happy.

· Forgiveness can lessen suffering and pain– When we don’t
forgive we
get enmeshed in blame and suffering. Pain, disappointment, and hurt are
many times unavoidable. Suffering is avoidable by the choices we make.
By forgiving others, we take control back of our lives.

· Forgiveness promotes Better Health – Research has found
forgiveness can reduce stress, blood pressure, anger, depression, and hurt,
and it can increase optimism, hope, compassion, and physical vitality.

· Forgiveness brings peace and joy – Forgiveness invites peace
healing into our lives – or positive thoughts. It promotes living from the
inside out instead of the outside in. Lack of forgiveness promotes
negativity, dissonance, and lack of control.

· Not forgiving is toxic and lack of forgiveness only hurts us.

· Forgiveness, like other positive emotions such as hope, compassion,
and appreciation, is a natural expression of our humanity. These emotions
exist within a deep part of each of us. Like many things, they require
practice to perfect, but with this practice they become stronger and easier
to find. (Luskin)

· People aren’t mean or hurtful unless they are hurting. Happy people
don’t hurt others. We can change the past or hurts we have experienced by
putting ourselves in the other person’s shoe’s – looking at things from
their perspective.

When you’re pissed off at somebody, you just haven’t given them
time. Just give them a little more time and they’ll almost always impress
Randy Pausch

Learning to forgive

1. Self respect is the precursor to forgiving someone else. When
we love
and respect ourselves, we don’t hurt our self or others and we have a much
easier time forgiving.

2. Decide you want to be happy. Happiness is a choice.

3. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, minimizing or approving of
hurtful event.
It means letting go of your hurt and anger, and not
someone endlessly responsible for your emotional well-being. Take control
of your life.

4. Work on small grievances one at a time. Forgiveness takes

5. Minimize unenforceable rules. Unenforceable rules are the
desires we
have that we are simply powerless to turn into realities. For instance, we
may have a desire that people treat us with kindness and respect. How do
we enforce that?

6. Set goal of healing – what is keeping you from healing?
Take control
of what you can control.

7. Change perspective.

8. Be grateful

In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy
is the best teacher.
Dalai Lama

We ought to be grateful to our enemies for providing a learning experience
and for the opportunity to practice feeling grateful in difficult situations
(Eckel, 1985; Fitzgerald, 1998)

Dr. Trish Henrie-Barrus teaches Positive Psychology at the University of
Utah. She also has a private practice where she specializes in positive
psychological techniques to change lives. She can be reached at 801 787-

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