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The New York Optimist
Forgive For Your Own Sake

By:  Nina Mistier

When we think of forgiveness, we think we are letting someone who hurt or disappointed us off the hook.  The reality is
that by forgiving them we are letting ourselves off the hook.  Think about the emotional, physical and intellectual energy
that goes into holding a grudge; it takes a lot less energy to let it go and be happy.  Every time you go over a negative event
you are physically, emotionally and mentally recreating the event as if it just happened.  When you do that you think you are
punishing the offender, but they are not reaping the negative benefits of your thoughts, you are!  With that knowledge you
can make a decision how to process this situation.  If someone did you wrong and you don’t want them in your life
anymore, that is fine, but forgive that person for your own sake.  That means you are accepting what happened, perhaps
accepting the loss of what was before the offense and agreeing to let it go.  If you understand that nothing anyone does or
says is really about you, but rather about them you can try to understand their perspective even if you disagree with it.  
Everyone thinks everyone else thinks the way they do, but this is so far from the truth.  You are releasing the same negative
chemicals into your body each time you think about it.  

All too often I hear stories of mothers and children not speaking for years or sisters and brothers not speaking and missing
years of opportunities to create happiness.  I think agreeing to disagree is a good solution  many times, since we are all
entitled to our opinions and perceptions.  Is it really worth giving away love and family ties because we see things

When groups of people come together in a brainstorming situation to find a solution to a problem it is enlightening to
experience so many different perspectives.  People are usually excited about the ideas others have that they did not think of
themselves; this is the positive side to thinking and perceiving differently.  We all become who we are based on how we
were raised, our environment, how we experienced negative and positive emotions and how relationships should play out.  
We can choose to do things differently if we are not happy with what we know.  Our original programming may not suit
us so we can choose to reprogram ourselves.  
For example, if you were raised in a home with a great deal of screaming and fighting, you may now find yourself
screaming and fighting at every turn.  If you accept this as normal that is fine, but if you dislike this reaction, you can
choose to create a new way to react.  Our parents were products of their environments, as we are products of ours, so
don’t blame them for not being perfect!  As an adult you can make your own choices if you are willing to do some work.  
The first thing is to notice triggers before you react.  The people closest to us know how to push our buttons very easily,
but we can choose to disengage the reaction to that button.  It takes practice and repetition, but it is our decision in the long
run that determines the outcome.

When you forgive another person, you are freeing yourself, not letting him/her off the hook.  Try to see the big picture and
not get caught up in the moment.  Life goes by so quickly and when it comes to a close do you want to look back with
regrets?  Go to the end and think of how you will look at this situation in retrospect.  If you look back and still feel the
same then perhaps you are comfortable with your reaction, but if you look back and wish you had done something
differently, then do it now!  Remember, you are creating your life and you have control over your reactions to the things
that happen and things that are said to you.  Choose happiness and forgiveness!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Nina Mistier is a Holistic Counselor, College Instructor, Yoga Instructor and mother who holds a Master’s degree in
Counseling Psychology, Counseling Supervision, Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and studies nutrition, holistic healing and
integrative medicine.