Want to Live Longer? Learn to Forgive.

Monitor on Psychology, January 2017 – Forgiveness can improve mental and physical health. Period.

There is no longer any question, at least in the scientific community, that forgiveness can be and is good for you. Whether you’ve suffered a minor Broken Heart Rehab3slight or a major grievance, researchers say, learning to forgive those who hurt you can significantly improve both psychological well-being and physical health.

“Forgiveness is a topic that’s psychological, social and biological,” according to Loren Toussaint, PhD, a professor of psychology at Luther College, in Decorah, Iowa. “It’s the true mind-body connection.”

An article in the January issue of Monitor on Psychology, a grudgepublication of the American Psychological Association, summarizes the current state of forgiveness research like this:

Research has shown that forgiveness is linked to mental health outcomes such as reduced anxiety, depression and major psychiatric disorders, as well as with fewer physical health symptoms and lower mortality rates.

Despite the proven benefits it provides, forgiveness can still be a difficult concept for some people to embrace. It can feel unfair to have to put in the effort to forgive when the other person was the one in the wrong.

Dr. Robert Enright, whom Time magazine called “the forgiveness trailblazer“ because of his 30+ years of forgiveness research, agrees that life can be unfair.

“Without our deserving it, we can experience thunderous injustices. The today-i-will-forgiveinjury was unfair, the person who created it was unfair,” Enright says. “But now we have a place for healing in forgiveness.”

Read the full article and learn more about the science of forgiveness, including Dr. Enright’s Process Model of Interpersonal Forgiving which is now being used around the world, at these links:

Forgiveness can improve mental and physical health. Research shows how to get there. Monitor on Psychology, January 2017, Vol 48, No. 1

Dr. Enright’s research on forgiveness and forgiveness education; International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) website.

How to Forgive; Dr. Enright’s Process Model of Interpersonal Forgiveness, IFI website.

Why Forgive; The mental and physical benefits of forgiveness, IFI website.

Why We Need Forgiveness Education

Editor’s Note: Just a few weeks ago (Dec. 21, 2016), we announced on this website that Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the IFI, had been selected by two of the nation’s premier blog sites (Psychology Today and Thrive Global) to add his forgiveness expertise as a regular contributor. This week, Psychology Today’s editorial staff promoted Dr. Enright’s most recent blog to “Essential Topic” status meaning that it receives prominent placement on their website along with being featured on the first page of blog topics like “Education” and “Therapy.” Here is that blog:


Why We Need Forgiveness Education

“I was too busy trying to survive. I did not have room to bring forgiveness into my world.”

These two sentences together, spoken by someone who lived with an abusive partner for decades, is one of the strongest rationales I have ever read for forgiveness education, starting with 4-year-olds or 5-year-olds.

Star Media website
Source: Star Media website

Do you see that the person, as an adult, did not have the energy and focus to add something new to her arsenal of survival?

What if forgiveness was a natural part of her survival arsenal starting at an early age?

We do this all the time in education as we help students learn how to speak and write coherent sentences.

We do this all the time in education as we help students learn how to add so that a budget can be maintained.

We do this all the time in education as we help students learn how to be just or fair. Teacher corrections and punishments are swift to come once students enter the school door and then misbehave in the school setting.

I think it is unfortunate that educational institutions and societies fail to make forgiveness a natural part of life through early education. Isn’t a central point about education to help people make their way in society?  And isn’t a central point of making one’s way in society having the capacity to confront grave injustices and not be defeated by them? And isn’t a central point of confronting grave injustices the knowledge of how to forgive? And isn’t a central point of knowing how to forgive the International Forgiveness Institute, Inc.thinking about forgiveness and the practice of it in safety, before the storms of insensitivity and abuse hit? And isn’t a central point of knowing forgiveness and practicing forgiveness to aid in the survival of people who could be crushed by others’ cruelty?

Why do we spend time helping children learn to speak and write, learn essential mathematics skills, and be just, but completely neglect teaching them how to overcome grave injustices?

Education in its essence will be fundamentally incomplete until educators fold into it the basic strategies for overcoming grave injustice and cruelty so that students, once they are adults, never have to say, “I was too busy trying to survive. I did not have room to bring forgiveness into my world.”

And the educational challenge of this incompleteness is this: We now know scientifically-supported pathways to forgive (Enright & Fitzgibbons, 2015; Wade, Hoyt, Kidwell, & Worthington, 2014). We have scientifically-tested forgiveness curricula for children and adolescents download(Enright, Knutson, Holter, Baskin, & Knutson, 2007; Enright, Rhody, Litts, & Klatt, 2014). Without forgiveness education, a person who wants to forgive may not be able to do so. Without forgiveness education, another person may too easily equate forgiving and reconciling, thus staying in an abusive relationship. With forgiveness education, a person can forgive, not necessarily reconcile, and heal emotionally.

It is time to make “room to bring forgiveness into my world.”

Robert

Posted Jan 15, 2017 – Psychology Today.com

Love and Forgiveness Prevail in the Face of Hatred

The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C. – More than 30 witnesses, all relatives of the nine people Dylann Roof shot down in the Emanuel AME Church during a Bible study in June 2015, registered to speak during the sentencing portion of his trial. Before the Judge ultimately sentenced Roof to death, the witnesses spoke  directly to the self-avowed white supremacist for the first time.

Alana Simmons, granddaughter of shooting victim Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr., reminded Roof of her message at his bail hearing that “hate won’t win.” She told him those words held true. Though he hoped to drive people apart, he instead brought people closer together, she said. He had failed in his mission to sow division through his twisted and bloody plan.  emanuel_victims_t580“Instead of starting a race war, you started a love war,” said Melvin Graham, who lost his sister Cynthia Graham Hurd in the shooting.

“I forgive you for you actions. You are just a body being used. You didn’t understand the presence of the evil that possesses you,” added Daniel Simmons, Jr., son of Rev. Simmons. “But thank God that he gives us the opportunity for forgiveness. Forgiveness is the heartbeat that pulls us to another level.”

People stand outside as parishioners leave the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting at the church claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Parishioners leave the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. days after the June 2015 mass shooting at the church claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others.

“Yes, I forgive you,” said another witness Felicia Sanders who lost her son Tywanza and her aunt Susie Jackson in the shooting. “That was the easiest thing I had to do. … But you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. May God have mercy on your soul.”

“You can’t have my joy,” said Bethane Middleton-Brown, whose sister died in the shooting. “It is simply not yours to take.”

“I forgive you, my family forgives you,” added Anthony Thompson, a relative of victim Myra Thompson. “But take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess.”

“Your choices brought us here, but our choice–to respond with love–has kept us here,” Alana Simmons said. “We are all moving on in love and moving on in strength and nothing you can ever do will ever be able to stop that.”

Read more about the South Carolina shooting and forgiveness for the shooter:

Are You Caught On the Unforgiveness Hook?

unforgiveness_hook_metaphor_en-gb

The Unforgiveness Hook Metaphor is an illustrated information sheet based upon a metaphor originally suggested by Steven C. Hayes, Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

See also the blog site BABAMIMI written by a psychologist (Baba) and his wife (Mimi) who still use the nicknames lovingly given to them when their children were much younger.

Dr. Enright Joins Two New Digital Media Ventures

Dr. Robert Enright, world-renowned forgiveness researcher and educator, has been selected by two of the nation’s premier blog sites to add his forgiveness expertise as a regular contributor.

Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute
Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute

1. Psychology Today is a New York City-based print magazine that will celebrate its 50th year of continuous publication in 2017. Its new blog site, according to the publication, is  “devoted exclusively to everybody’s favorite subject: Ourselves.”

To make and keep their new blog site relevant, Psychology Today has gathered a group of renowned psychologists, academics, psychiatrists and writers to contribute their thoughts and ideas on what makes us tick. According to the website,  “We’re a live stream of what’s happening in Psychology Today.”

The forgiveness blog section on Psychology Today’s website is called “The Forgiving Life”–which is also the title of one of the eight books Dr. Enright has written. Here are links to the first four blogs Dr. Enright has produced for the new site this month:
Dec. 7 – Forgiveness Saved My Life: Reflections from Prison
Dec. 16 – Afraid of Mingling with the Relatives This Holiday Season?
Dec. 17 A New Approach to School Bullying: Eliminate Their Anger
Dec. 20 Is It True That Forgiveness Is “Ridiculous“?

Arianna Huffington’s New Venture

2. You’ve probably heard of Arianna Huffington, the 66-year-old digital media pioneer, bestselling author, and founder of The Huffington Post–the online news powerhouse that has spread its influence around the world in dramatic fashion. Oh, yes, and she is one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Huffington stepped down in August as editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post (affectionately called HuffPost), which she founded in 2005 andthrive-global-arianna-huffington sold to AOL six years later for $315 million, to concentrate full time on her new venture–Thrive Global. The new entity is partly based on her runaway bestselling 2014 book, Thrivewhich defines a new math for success based on the variables of well-being, wisdom, wonder and generosity.

One of the entities under the Thrive Global umbrella is The Thrive Journal–an online blog site that the company says goes “beyond informing and entertaining to action. Our goal is to help you bring about changes in your life by giving you concrete, actionable tips laid out in five pathways: Calm, Joy, Purpose, thrive-logoWell-Being, and Productivity. These microsteps and tips are embedded in every piece of content we produce.”

Similar to the new blog site developed by Psychology Today, the Thrive Global blog site will feature a wide array of international wellness experts, psychologists, medical doctors and other professionals. Here are links to the first five blogs Dr. Enright has produced for Thrive Global:
Nov. 25Forgiveness and the Presidential Election of 2016: 7 Tips
N
ov. 30 Reflections from Prison: “Forgiveness Saved My Life” 
Dec. 4 Forgiveness, the Marathon, and the Inspired Work of Art
Dec. 8 – How Evil Works
Dec. 17 
Afraid of Mingling with the Relatives This Holiday Season? 4 Tips from Forgiveness Therapy

Christmas Tree Thief Gets Tree Plus Forgiveness

WCVB Channel 5, New Bedford, MA – After a 9-year battle with mitochondrial disease, 14-year-old Noah Fernandes died last spring. His grieving parents buried him at Pine Grove Cemetery in New Bedford.

Christine and Noah (at age 5).
Christine and Noah (when he was 5).

Last week, they decided to spruce up his gravesite with a small Christmas tree, and decorated it with some of Noah’s favorite ornaments.

But over the weekend, someone stole Noah’s tree and all the ornaments.

Rather than express bitterness and resentment, however, Noah’s parents offered forgiveness and good wishes to the perpetrator. They said the Fernandes family lives by the creed: If you harbor bitterness, happiness will find another port.ornament

“If someone needed it more than Noah, and they couldn’t afford a tree, then maybe Noah blessed it, and the tree will bring them happiness,” said Noah’s mother Christine.

Noah was diagnosed at age 5. He fought the disease for about nine years. Finally, confined to a wheelchair, blind and unable to speak, Noah succumbed to the disease in March, at age 14.

The family has set up a website in Noah’s memory. It tries to provide logohelp for other families dealing with mitochondrial disease. They’re also using the website to raise money to build a playground for children in New Bedford. You can get more information at teamnoahfoundation.org.


Read more:

Mother forgives whoever stole Christmas tree from child’s grave – WCVB Channel 5, Boston, MA

New Bedford Mother Shows Grace After Christmas Tree Stolen From Son’s Grave – Boston.cbslocal.com

Christmas tree stolen from child’s grave, mother offers forgiveness – MSN.com (Microsoft)

Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon. . . . . . . . Can It Lead to Peace?

Lebanon native Ramy Taleb, his wife Roula, and a handful of like-minded individuals are confident they have the solution to the sectarian violence that is plaguing their homeland–peace through forgiveness education.

Roula and Ramy Taleb with their children JD and Deborah (in front of Ramy).
Roula and Ramy Taleb with their children JD and Deborah (in front of Ramy).education.

Although Ramy has been working with Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, for several years, he has now broadened his focus by forming a government-registered NGO (non-governmental organization)–The Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon (FFRL).

“FFRL believes in identifying all people through a common humanity, seeking to break down dehumanizing perceptions resulting from sectarian division and establishing a path towards social reconciliation through the lens of forgiveness,” according to Ramy, Director of the FFRL.

A group of Lebanese and Palestinian students proudly displays its Forgiveness Journey graduation certificates.
A group of Lebanese and Palestinian students proudly display their Forgiveness Journey graduation certificates.

“We work with youth and young adults from various communities in Lebanon, providing education in nonviolent conflict resolution through our Forgiveness Journey curriculum,” he added. “This involves developing an understanding of the spectrum of forgiveness, from a space of basic coexistence all the way to complete reconciliation.”

During the past couple years, the group’s “projects have included people from Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi communities of various religious backgrounds,” according to FFRL’s website. “Intergroup engagement is core to our work, bringing opposed groups together in order to nurture the aspects of reconciliation they have learned from the Forgiveness Journey in a real world setting.”

Renewing Communities Through Forgiveness Education: A Prospect For Peace

Dr. Enright and his International Forgiveness Institute first pioneered this concept in 1985 and created the first scientifically proven forgiveness program in the US. Since 2002, Dr. Enright has focused almost exclusively on the development of forgiveness education curricula for children in war-torn, impoverished, and/or oppressed areas of the globe. The Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon is one expression of this forgiveness education that now reaches to more than 30 countries around the world.


“Together with the IFI, we believe that forgiveness is a path to peace,” Ramy says. “With Dr. Enright’s help we are mentoring a generation of future peacemakers in the Middle-East.” 


Independence, Civil War and Turmoil

On Nov. 22, Lebanon celebrated 73 years of independence from France. Those years have been marked, however, with continued sectarian violence and conflicts including an Israeli invasion, Syrian occupancy, and a Lebanese Civil War.

In addition to all that, the recent and ongoing influx of Syrian refugeeslebanon-logo-ramy has only added to the nation’s instability, with an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees now seeking refuge in Lebanon. Furthermore, Palestinian refugees still make up another 450,000–this equates to a ratio of one in four being a refugee in Lebanon, the highest anywhere in the world.

Learn More:
1) Visit The Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon website.
2) Watch a short 3:16 video about the FFRL.
3) Review the complete curriculum compendium for the
Lebanese Forgiveness Education Program.
4) Donate to help FFRL mentor a
 generation of future Middle-East peacemakers in Lebanon.