• Bryan Shive

You CAN forgive ... and live longer

For many, forgiveness seems to be something for outside the workplace, but consider. Forgiveness is very needed in the workplace- maybe more than anywhere else, because some of us spend more time with coworkers than with our loved ones at home.

Please read on!

Forgiveness is a necessary skill to successfully remain in any workplace.

If you have an on-going feud with your acquaintance or co-worker, or secretly seethe over something your boss has done, beware. You are in danger.

An offense by your partner or friend may be so wounding you think your only choice is to stay mad and stay distant. Health researchers at Harvard Medical School say forgiveness is not a shortcut around anger. It is a way to move on once anger has subsided. It is necessary skill to build a healthy network of friends and a stable foundation for life without chaos and perpetual crises. Here are some ways to start the process:

- Acknowledge your anger. You need to feel righteous anger before you can move on.

- Consider the offender. He may still have redeeming qualities. Someone still loves this person if it is only his mother or his dog.

- Don't slander. If you have to speak about him, speak no evil.

- Focus on freeing yourself of resentment. Think about it before going to sleep.

- Think kind thoughts. A woman whose child was murdered pictured the man finding a valued object that had been lost, or catching a fish.

- Consider your part in the strife. Asking forgiveness for your own part can lift the weight of the world. When you do ask for forgiveness, don't make excuses, shift blame, or expect the other person to admit any fault. Keep the focus squarely on your self and your own error.

- Learn to excuse the offender. Who knows what kind of day, upbringing, or event they had. Perhaps in the same situation, you may have done worse than they had.

- Keep going. Don't worry if it takes a long time to forgive. The important thing is to start. Consider doing something kind for the one who hurt you. Pray for them, give them an anonymous gift, or say something nice about them.

Many studies show that people who forgive have lower levels of anxiety, higher self-esteem and better emotional health than those who do not. A Taiwanese study of women struggling to forgive betrayal by a friend or coworker showed that those who got rid of grudges had lower blood pressure.

Short bursts of rage aren't that harmful. But feeling the anger again and again over months or years has devastating effects. Pounding blood can erode coronary artery walls. Platelets will then clump to fill the abrasions. Over time plaque will accumulate in the damaged areas, leading to coronary artery disease.

It is reasonable to assume that forgiveness, by providing an antidote to anger and stress, will interrupt the heart-damaging process.

Live longer, enjoy life more, build more lasting relationships- Forgive!

*If you'd like to learn more about forgiveness, Weixler DCS has employees and counselors with reconciliation and forgiveness training, and we would be glad to help. Weixler also provides to their employees at no charge an EAP program that include certified professional counseling assistance.

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