Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Psychiatrist and author Peter Breggin:
How Forgiveness Can Change Your Life

Breggin says:
"A great deal of personal suffering, including what gets called mental illness, is rooted in an angry, unforgiving attitude toward oneself, other people, and the world."
He says that in the long run, an unforgiving attitude can wear us out. It makes us anxious, keeps us up at night, and wastes our energy.

Notable figures who spoke of forgiveness include Lincoln in his second inaugural address:
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, ... let us strive on to finish the work we are in, ... to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
Mother Teresa:
"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway."
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
Martin Luther King:
"Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude."
Nelson Mandela:
"As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."

"Men of peace must not think about retribution or recriminations. Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace."
It strikes me, as it does with many virtues, that the act of engaging them gives you a sense of being on higher ground, makes you feel superior, that is, virtuous. But that's inconsistent with other virtues such as humility. The challenge in life seems to be getting them all on the plate at the same time.

My list of determinates to health is getting longer ... diet, exercise, effective breathing, compassion, and forgiveness.
The photo of the owl captures, for me, feelings wrapped up in forgiveness - letting go, taking flight, moving forward. You can't fly if you are encumbered.