Saturday, January 12, 2013

How To Forgive And Forget: The Truth About Forgiveness

Angry Talk (Comic Style)
Angry Talk (Wikipedia)
by Doc Orman M.D.

Much has been said about forgiveness throughout the ages. Despite all the spiritual and self-help advice we receive, however, most people still find it very difficult to forgive.

While we often say the words "I forgive you" or "let's forget and move on," still deep within our hearts we are not really letting go of most of the anger and blame we feel against someone who may have seriously wronged us.

This can result in ongoing personal suffering that, for some, continues to last throughout their lifetime.

The reason why most spiritual and self-help advice about forgiveness doesn't help is because it doesn't delve deeply enough into the actual causes of our anger and blame in the first place.

When you correctly understand the true causes of anger in human beings, you begin to deeply appreciate that the most important causes of anger and resentment lie mainly within us, and not with the behavior of others or whatever may have happened in the past.

These internal causes are anger-producing thought patterns and action patterns that become triggered within in our bodies. Often, these internal thought patterns and action or behavior patterns produce "false internal realities" within us that we automatically assume to be true, but that have little correspondence to the truth about what really happened.

But we end up getting angry and holding on to our anger anyway, because our bodies automatically assume that all of these "internal realities" are indeed true.

For example, automatic anger-producing thoughts such as "someone did something they shouldn't have done" or "I was hurt or harmed by what happened" or "the other person was unilaterally to blame for what occurred" are frequently incorrect.

As a result of these mistaken "internal realities," we conclude that a crime has been committed and that someone should apologize, offer to make amends, and/or be punished. When none of these things occur, or sometimes even when they do, we may find it very difficult to forgive.

There is no way you can "let go" of your anger or truly forgive the past as long as "false internal realities" remain unchallenged within you. You cannot pretend "all is forgiven" when you are certain that: a) you were seriously harmed; b) the other person (or yourself) was unilaterally to blame; and c) this person should have done something different.


The best way to do this is to recognize where your automatic assumptions, which are causing your anger and resentment, are false or misleading. Once you challenge and disprove these "false internal realities," your anger and resentment will quickly disappear, without you having to do anything to try to force this to happen.

Even when a true crime, such as a theft or murder was committed, it is still possible - although not easy - to forgive the offending party. This can sometimes be done by challenging your automatic assumption that the person should have "known better" or should have behaved in a different manner.

Copyright (c) 2013 M.C.Orman, M.D., FLP

Doc Orman, M.D. is a physician, author, stress coach, and founder of The Stress Mastery Academy. To learn more about his advice on how to forgive, as well as how to solve other lingering stress or anxiety problems, visit

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