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March 6, 2011

How many rocks do you want to carry?

Author: JenniferMaster1

Imagine that every time someone criticizes you, embarrasses you,  is not loyal to you, or hurts you in some way, you put a rock in your backpack. We have all been hurt by others many times throughout our lives.

These rocks can be feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness, pain, and even revenge. Don’t we deserve to have these feelings? Doesn’t the person who injured us deserve to be punished? Surely that will make us feel better to see the other person suffer as we have. Maybe we could even throw our rocks at that person! But, we cannot because these particular rocks belong to us. When we get these rocks in our backpacks, it’s up to us to remove them from the backpack, leave them at our feet and move on in our life’s path.

One of my favorite stories on forgiveness is found in the Bible. A woman has been caught in the sin of adultery. The crowd wanted to stone her for her transgressions. Jesus tells the crowd to let whoever is without sin cast the first stone. No one threw any stones. The crowd went out one by one, and Jesus was left alone with the woman. Jesus asked the woman if any man condemned her.

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:11)

Have you ever noticed that when we point a finger at others, three fingers are pointing back to ourselves? We all make mistakes. We all want to be forgiven. When we are aware of our own imperfections, sins and weaknesses, we are less likely to find fault in others and demand perfection of them. But it can be challenging to remove the rocks of injury and insult from our backpack.

Hanging onto those rocks can make us emotionally ill and over time, physically ill. These trapped emotions can start out as lack of mental focus, anger, anxiety and even depression. You may become so wrapped up in your bitterness that you can’t enjoy the present moments of your life. You might feel that your life lacks purpose or lose healthy feelings of connection to others. You may even feel conflict with your spiritual beliefs.

Over a period of time, these negative low vibrations affect the physical body. The 4th Chakra has to do with matters of the heart such as feelings, forgiveness, unconditional love and joy. When there are negative blocks in this Chakra, the lungs, ribs, breasts, diaphragm, shoulder, arms, thymus gland, the circulatory system and the heart can all be weakened.

It is an interesting thought that matters of the heart, emotionally speaking, can affect the condition of the physical heart. In one study of almost 13,000 subjects, individuals with the highest levels of anger had twice the risk of coronary artery disease and three times the risk of heart attack, as compared to the subjects with the lowest levels of anger. 1

Okay, so you don’t want to have a heart attack at age 35! So how do you forgive when you feel so wronged?

First, you must acknowledge your hurt feelings in the first place. You may not be able to control your initial reaction to being hurt, but you can choose to act not re-act beyond the first feelings of negative emotion. Are you going to hang onto the pain or anger and continue to replay the hurtful situation over and over in your mind? Are you going to allow this to keep you from enjoying today?

Second, try to understand the other person’s circumstances in life. Was their action out of innocence because they weren’t really trying to hurt you? Was there a misunderstanding in communication? Did they have their own stress and grief in their life that caused them to hit a breaking point of being out of control? Maybe they had some emotional/mental problems of their own and need some compassion. Whatever it may have been that caused the hurtful incident, try to see the perpetrator from a different angle.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” 2

Third, as we work on forgiving someone else, we can focus on the situation instead of the person. We can think, “That was embarrassing to me,” instead of ” John really embarrassed me.” Or, “It hurt my feelings to have some say untrue things about me”, instead of “Katie hurt my feelings badly”. We become emotionally stronger when we can separate our feelings from the hurtful situation.

Fourth, we may need some extra strength that comes from prayer, writing in a journal, meditation and a whole energy healing session.  Try all the wonderful options you have to restore your well-being and peace. Lighten your load by getting all of those rocks from your backpack!

1. www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/rein-in-rage-anger-heart-disease

2. As quoted in Thomas A. Harris, I’m OK–You’re OK (1973), 295.

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