Problems bouncing back? It could be your unforgiving nature

Problems bouncing back? It could be your unforgiving nature

By Colleen Carruthers

We all face adversity in our lives. Times when we meet challenges that can’t be overcome or at least appear to be insurmountable in our mind. The way we meet these challenges and ultimately bounce back is called resiliency. And it’s an important attribute because it helps us bounce back from adversity and stress.

Our relationships with others can affect our resiliency. Relationships are often a source of frustration. Differences of opinion and viewpoints can get us angry or upset, and cause us to be in places where we do not forgive. And, forgiveness influences our ability to be resilient.

Developing an ability to forgive is not easy. Forgiveness often challenges the essence of who we are: our values, our principles, our code of conduct and our moral campus. If you challenge these, you are challenging “my most inner me”; how could I forgive?

But there is a difference between forgiving and forgetting.

Many forgive a wrongdoing committed against them or for a hurtful comment made toward them, but they may not forget—ever. This is causes rumination, keeping present what needs to be let go of in order to move on. Like old wine, the longer it sits the better it tastes. With forgiveness the more we remember without letting go, the stronger it impacts our present state of being. It causes us to become anxious, unhappy, neurotic or even physically ill. It controls our ability to be resilient. It becomes all-consuming.

Forgiveness needs to be matched with forgetfulness. The combination of the two increases hope improves health, causes less stress, strengthens immune systems, and creates fewer negative emotions and feelings. And yes, all supported by solid research in the behavioural sciences. This, in turn, changes our outlook to a more positive framework causing us to let go and forget—and ultimately move on. This is reliant behaviour in action.

Ask yourself what is preventing me from being resilient? Who do I need to forgive?  And what do I need to forget in order to be positive and happy, here and now?

Colleen Carruthers
Registered Psychotherapist
The T-R Group Inc.