Counting sheep didn’t help me while the entire household was in deep slumber. I decided to grab the Kindle to browse and do some reading till I fell asleep. What a coincidence it was when I happened to bump across this article in the Washington Post which revealed a secret to averting the issue of sleeplessness!
Citing statistics that one third of 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 not any 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.
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, and 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 which might come in the way of having a peaceful sleep.
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 time in our lives, may have regretted some action of ours and have had unpleasant memories of times when people have acted mean and 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 the face of this earth.
From a spiritual perspective, forgiveness is considered as something noble. One of the most revered texts of Hinduism, the Bhagawad Gita explains that the attitude of 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. In the majority of scenarios, it’s anger that comes in the way and controls emotions. The ego plays a big role when one thinks that easily forgiving someone would feel like accepting defeat.
Sometimes, individuals may not be willing to forgive others because he or she wants the person seeking forgiveness to experience the same pain that had been 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 behavior 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. So the question of leniency does not arise when we have that mindset.
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 level of anxiety, and we hamper our own 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!”
So 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!