Forgiving can be good for your health

February 8, 2008 5:55:20 PM PST
Are you holding a grudge? If you don't let it go, then you may be doing harm to yourself. Dr. Fred Luskin is the author of Forgive For Love and he claims if you don't forgive, you're damaging your health.

7 Scientifically Proven Steps to Building a Better Relationship

  1. Dance with the one you brought: you chose your partner, faults and all! The man or woman walking beside you is there for one simple reason-out of all the people out there, you chose this person as your partner. The fact that your partner is with you only because you made a decision to invite him or her to join you is the simplest reason to be more forgiving of this person. It is your positive exercise of choice that will be at the heart of a successful long-term relationship.

  2. Recognize that everyone is flawed...including you! Honor without resentment the flawed nature of the human being with whom you share your life. By definition, you are with someone who has significant limitations. Unfortunately, you did not get in the line where they were offering saints, angels, personal saviors, or slaves. You got in the line for a regular person, warts and all. Learning to accept your partner's limitations with tenderness is the opening to a true love.

  3. Let your partner know how blessed you are. Love is a gift which your partner is giving! The love your partner offers is freely given, and love itself is marvelous. Your lover's freedom to choose allows you to exult and find meaning and beauty in his or her kindness, love, loyalty, and generosity.

  4. To know them is to love them. Try to see your lover's flaws and failures with loving eyes. When we commit to our lovers, we implicitly promise to forgive them. There is no other way to live with someone for better of worse until death do us part. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Acknowledge your partner's flaws, but strive to see his or her good intentions. As you become more forgiving, there is simultaneously less to be upset with. When you disagree forgivingly, you disagree as friends, not as enemies.

  5. Accept what you can't change and grieve your loss. Wisdom is the ability to discern the difference between what you can and cannot change. We generally cannot change the actions and thoughts of other people or what happened in our own past. What we can change is ourselves. Forgiveness is one way to change ourselves and in that way change our relationships with our lovers. As we change, we go from anger and self-pity to understanding and goodwill. Becoming a more forgiving person helps us to change our focus from our wounds to the present and future possibilities for happiness in our marriage.

  6. Choose to recommit. A marriage is a choice to recommit to your partner every day. A good relationship is worth the effort of letting go of an annoying trait in your partner and being as kind as possible to this person you are connected to. Every spouse, whether recovering from a brutal betrayal or simply dealing with a sloppy partner, decides every day whether to get up and dance with that partner again. Forgiveness is based upon a continual recommitment to your relationship, and it allows you to move forward in your relationship with happiness and a positive attitude.

  7. Please give yourself a break. You are just as flawed, misguided, and hurtful as your lover, and you both need a good dose of TLC. Modern life is hectic, and both you and your partner are likely to be busy, self-absorbed, and idiosyncratic individuals. Just like your loved one, you can fail at aspects of your relationship and do things without thinking or examining the consequences. This difficult truth does not disqualify either of you from being loved or from doing your best. It just means that a lot of forgiveness is needed on both sides and toward each other.

Bottom Line: If you can learn to forgive your partner and yourself, you're on the road to a healthy and lasting relationship!

About Fred Luskin, Ph.D.:
Dr. Fred Luskin, one of the world's leading researchers and teachers of forgiveness, is Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation. In Forgive for Good, he showed us the importance of forgiveness in all aspects of our lives. Now, with FORGIVE FOR LOVE: The Missing Ingredient for a Healthy and Lasting Relationship (HarperOne; January 2008; Hardcover; $24.95; 240 pages; ISBN 978-0-06-123494-1), Dr. Luskin turns his attention towards our romantic relationships; based on his scientifically proven research, Dr. Luskin reveals that successful relationships must include forgiveness-an approach that most relationship experts continue to ignore.

Dr. Luskin delivers a proven seven-step program for creating and maintaining loving and lasting relationships, with easy-to-learn forgiveness skills that will not only resolve immediate conflicts, but will improve the overall happiness and longevity of our relationships. The solution for all your relationship woes, FORGIVE FOR LOVE provides the tools you need to find and hold onto the love of your life.

Simply put: people in healthy relationships figure out how to forgive their partners for being themselves. They do so because it is nearly impossible to change other people and because none of us are perfect. Forgiveness is the key and FORGIVE FOR LOVE has the answers.

Fred Luskin, Ph.D. is the author of Forgive for Good and one of the world's leading researchers and teachers of forgiveness. Luskin is the Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects, a series of research projects that investigate forgiveness methods. He is Senior Fellow at the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation and an associate professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. He lives in Palo Alto, CA. Visit the author online at www.learningtoforgive.com


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