Forgiveness is such a simple concept, yet it always seems easier said than done.
Learning to forgive someone, regardless of the damage they might have done to your emotional, mental, or physical health, can be extremely challenging.
However, if you decide not to forgive a person for wronging you, it's usually YOU who ends up suffering.
Why is forgiveness so important for your own happiness?
When you hold onto a grudge, you may experience feelings of anger, resentment, grief, and sadness. These feelings can build up and get in the way of simply living life. By choosing to engage in a forgiving process, you're letting go of the negativity and pain that might be holding you down.
What are some ways you can learn to forgive?
Listen in as Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, shares how you can learn to forgive and why it's important for your own health and happiness.
RadioMD Presents:The Dr. Holly Lucille Show | Original Air Date: February 25, 2015
Host: Holly Lucille, ND, RN
She's articulate. She's passionate and she tells the truth about health. She's Dr. Holly. It's time for the Dr. Holly Lucille Show.
DR. HOLLY: Hi, folks. Thanks so much for being with me. Oh, my gosh. Okay. I've got to introduce my guest right away because I need to book an appointment with her right after the segment.
Okay. Her name is Jinnie Cristerna. She is the high-achiever therapist and has been helping talented people--I'm not self-referring as talented, folks. I just know sometimes I have a lot going on--people plow through their emotional pain and psychological roadblocks, so they can achieve their personal and professional goals for over 20 years.
Jinnie, thank you so much for being here.
JINNIE: Oh, thank you for having me, Dr. Holly. This is so awesome.
DR. HOLLY: Yes. You know, our topic for today, because I bet you could talk about a whole heck of a lot of things, is learning to forgive—letting go and experiencing happiness. I've got to tell you something. I heard somebody once say about forgiveness that it's kind of like a detox. You're not going to really enjoy getting started, but you are going to feel like an amazing million bucks when you're through it. I think it's probably one of the most difficult aspects of our human being nature.
JINNIE: You're absolutely right. This is one of those things where it's always difficult to start off learning how to forgive because it's not something that's innately natural to human beings, but once you start forgiving, you can't stop because it frees you, literally, from the prison of anger, of sadness, of depression. So, forgiveness is probably one of the most powerful things that you can do for yourself. It's not for the other person. It's for you.
DR. HOLLY: Right. So, I've got two questions. Actually, you already answered my first one, why it's so important to forgive because you said it frees you and it's for you. Why do you think so many people struggle with trying to forgive somebody?
JINNIE: Well, part of it is, it's painful. The person has hurt you or offended you in some way that struck a nerve, right? So, in order to say, "I forgive you," most people have the impression that, it's okay what you've done to me when that's actually not the truth. So, peoples' understanding of forgiveness is actually very inaccurate. Forgiveness doesn't mean that what you did to me was alright, Dr. Holly. What it means is that I will no longer carry the hurt of the pain you caused me. It doesn't mean that you can do it again and can I have another one. It simply means, you did something, it hurt me and I'm not going to carry that pain any more. I'm going to give it back to you.
DR. HOLLY: Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Alright. So, we're talking about learning to forgive and, you know, I've got some student loans that prove that I've been kicking around in some educational facilities for a while, but talk to me about how we learn to forgive.
JINNIE: Well, it's a conscious process. It's a very deliberate process and that's something that most people don't really grasp until they are choosing to forgive. So the interesting thing is that when you think about forgiveness, it's not a 1-2-3 step type of deal. It's about acknowledging and owning what you feel because of what someone has done to you. Why that has hurt you or offended you in such a way? And, in choosing, say, "I let it go. I have compassion for you. I understand why you did this. It doesn't mean it was okay, but I can see why you would do that. But, you're hurting me because you're hurt."
DR. HOLLY: Aha. Right.
JINNIE: So, it's about in that moment with those individual people or circumstances, being fully present to understand, this really isn't about you.
DR. HOLLY: Right.
JINNIE: When we become adults, very little has anything to do with us, right?
DR. HOLLY: Newsflash.
JINNIE: So, people are just projecting all over the place.
DR. HOLLY: Yes.
JINNIE: So, I can't, Dr. Holly, make you happy. I can't make you angry and I can't make you sad. All I can do is stir up what's already there. That's it.
DR. HOLLY: Well, and people do it.
JINNIE: When I realize I don't have the power to make you feel some kind of way, I have to own my stuff, right? Because if you hurt me, there's something that I was expecting from you. I'm disappointed in some way.
DR. HOLLY: Right. Right. Right. Right. Right. Right.
JINNIE: But, I have to own part of what I'm expecting from you. Not that I'm saying that it's okay that you did what you did, but I was expecting something different. You did something completely opposite or painful. So, we all grow when we forgive. We start to realize, "Ain't nobody coming to save me."
DR. HOLLY: Right. So, what are some of the ways that you can forgive someone because, gosh, we hurt each other intentionally sometimes; non-intentionally a lot of times--all the time. You know, there are violations all over the place.
DR. HOLLY: What are some of the ways we can forgive someone?
JINNIE: Well, you can't forgive anyone until you learn to forgive yourself. That's rule number one. Now, I will say that is the only thing that is written in stone. I can't give someone something that I can't give myself yet. So, forgiving myself for being angry with you; forgiving myself for hating you; forgiving myself for whatever it is—my response to you and understanding that I'm human, too—will allow me to have the space to feel the same for you.
DR. HOLLY: Right.
JINNIE: Understand that you're human, too. So, that process that I talk about with people is to first own it. You know? And, you can say a mantra which I think is really, really helpful, especially if you are a tapping person—that emotional freedom technique. One of the statements you could say is, "Even though I'm angry with you or hate you, I deeply and completely forgive myself."
DR. HOLLY: Hmm.
JINNIE: Because I'm responding to you.
DR. HOLLY: So, "Even though I am angry or," you can fill in the blanks, "hate you or I'm hurt, I forgive myself."
JINNIE: Yes. I deeply and completely accept or forgive myself. And you say that over and over and over again and you're closing your eyes and being in that place where you can feel those words resonate with you. It allows a certain type of calm and peace to come over you.
DR. HOLLY: Girl, this is a conscious process. You can't sleepwalk through this one.
JINNIE: You cannot. That's why it's so hard because people just want it to magically go away. There's no magic in this. There's a lot of work in it.
DR. HOLLY: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. What happens when you don't forgive? Why is it so harmful for our health?
JINNIE: Oh. Well, I think that, one of the things that's really nice about science and research is now we have some data behind it and what happens when we hold on to that anger and that sadness and that bitterness, we become more stressed. Our blood pressure goes up. We are very negative. We start to isolate ourselves or people start to isolate us and we end up having this life that feels like this self-fulfilling prophecy of "No one likes me. Everything is bad. Nothing good happens to me. What's the point in trying?" So, every negative spot and stereotype about your life or the world, gets reinforced when you don't forgive.
DR. HOLLY: Right. Wow. Sheesh. So, I want to make sure that my listeners know where to get ahold of you because I think that this is such a subtly, lovely, important process in healing for people across the board and, gosh, darn it, you know, we need it. We all need it. We all need this.
JINNIE: Oh, yes.
DR. HOLLY:For sure, and I think, you know, your point that you really, honestly--it's that old adage--"You can't give something to somebody else if you don't give it to yourself." You know, I think, Jinnie, one of the things I've noticed in my professional life, yes, but also in my personal life is that there's a lot of lip service sometimes, you know? Especially with smarter people which, you deal with where it sounds good when you say it really fast or, it's like, "Okay. I forgave her. Check." You know? And then, you're on to your blog that you have to get out. But, a lot of times, I feel like there's a boomerang effect there where if it's not really authentically rooted in something that, as you said, you feel it in your bones, it kind of comes back to bite you.
But, hey! We've got 60 seconds. I want to leave you with the final words, but, people, you can get more of Jinnie on HighAchiever.net. You can just spell it out. So, www, of course, that's the website.
So, any parting words for us?
JINNIE: Absolutely. I want to tell you, just like a warning. I love that example. If it comes back to you, then you've missed your mark.
DR. HOLLY: Alright.
JINNIE: If a boomerang does not come back to you, if the emotion or that anger, that hatred doesn't come back to you, that means you've let it go. But, if you continue to feel that, that means that there's more to do.
DR. HOLLY: Got to work. Got to keep working! Thank you so much. This is Dr. Lucille. Thanks so much for joining us.