Forgive Yourself And People, For It’ll Help You Fly… And Sleep!

Posted: November 19, 2019

It’s late in the night, everyone else is asleep. But you JUST cannot sleep! Isn’t it a good time to introspect whether or not you’ve forgiven yourself? Read on to know why

Counting sheep didn’t help me while the entire household was in deep slumber. I decided to grab the Kindle to browse and read a little till I fell asleep. What a coincidence it was when I happened to come across this article in the Washington Post that revealed a secret to averting the issue of sleeplessness!

It cited statistics that one third of the Americans complain about staying awake a few nights a week. The author Sophie McMullen revealed the panacea to the problem of not being able to get a good night’s rest. Believe it or not, it’s no medicine or meditation technique but rather something as abstract as the practice of forgiveness! That includes forgiving one’s self for things that they have done wrong and also forgiving others who might have hurt them.

Forgive people to sleep better

According to a study in the journal Psychology and Health, people who were more forgiving than those who were not tended to sleep better and for longer hours. What’s more, they also had better physical health.

The level of satisfaction with their lives also seemed higher than those who held on to their grudges. It was also revealed that forgiving others had a stronger correlation with better sleep, than just letting go of the guilt for doing something wrong ourselves.

So insomniacs, do you have a solution to your problem by having a big heart to forgive and forget? To be realistic, the results of a study with a sample size of a little over 1400 respondents cannot give a conclusive answer. But if we were to think logically, it does make sense that brooding over bitter events does cause stress and anger. That stress and anger might come in the way of having a peaceful sleep.

Forgiveness is spiritual too!

Keeping the problem of sleep deprivation at bay, let’s talk about forgiveness. “To err is human, to forgive, divine,” goes the saying. All of us, at some point in our lives, have regretted some action of ours. And we all have unpleasant memories of times when people acted mean or treated us badly. If you are someone who does not fall into this class, you need to really thank your lucky stars for being this extremely fortunate person on earth.

From a spiritual perspective, forgiveness is considered to be noble. One of the most revered texts of Hinduism, the Bhagawad Gita, explains that forgiveness is a culmination of spiritual practice and inner growth. I would not even attempt to immerse myself in the intricacies of theology and would rather view the situation from a layman’s point of view.

It is definitely easier to excuse one’s self, but how easy is it to forgive others for their mistakes? What comes in the way of pardoning others? The human psyche works in many complex ways.

And then comes the ego

In the majority of the scenarios, it is anger that comes in way and controls emotions. Ego also plays a big role when one thinks that forgiving someone easily would feel like accepting defeat.

Sometimes, individuals may not be willing to forgive others because they want the person seeking forgiveness to experience the same pain that was inflicted on them. It is also very difficult to forgive those who never climb down from their ivory towers to show the least signs of apologetic behaviour for their nasty actions.

Trust, once broken, cannot be easily revoked. So once we are harmed by someone, it’s very natural that we are suspicious that the person might hurt us again. The question of leniency does not arise when we have that mindset.

Forgive, but be careful

It cannot be denied that it calls for a high degree of compassion to grant forgiveness to someone who has hurt us immensely. But the truth is that unless we pardon their actions, it is not possible to move forward.

It only increases our anxiety, and hampers our mental peace. To live with feelings of blame, anger, and regret is not a pleasant experience. Perhaps the most intelligent action is to go by the philosophy of “once bitten, twice shy.” Forgive the person for the hurt being caused to you, and be doubly alert so that you are not the victim again.

A quote from an author, C. Joybell C., that I had come across very powerfully drives home a message about forgiveness: “People have to forgive. We don’t have to like them, we don’t have to be friends with them, we don’t have to send them hearts in text messages, but we have to forgive them, to overlook, to forget. Because if we don’t we are tying rocks to our feet, too much for our wings to carry!”

Let’s make forgiveness a mantra and nurture the beautiful thought of making the journey of life a happy and peaceful one! And going back to the point where I started, well, as I was on that mission trying to catch some shut-eye, I sure did doze off with a few pearls of wisdom, being richer and wiser!

This piece was earlier published here

Picture Credits: Pexels

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Born in India, Rashmi Bora Das moved to the United States in the early nineties.

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