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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

A Coffee Break of Inspirational Leadership: The Power to Forgive



I've been thinking a lot about this word lately, although I must give a bit of credit where credit is due. Maria Shriver and her "The Sunday Paper" blog is a great thought provoker.

Having spent some time at Holocaust Museums on both coasts here in the United States this spring, I had an opportunity to talk to two different survivors and both spoke on their healing process through forgiveness. Here are two individuals who had every reason in the world to hate their captors, but both emerged with the peace of mind to let go and move forward. Both reinforced that they didn't "forget" but just made the conscious decision to look past beyond resentment and revenge and mentally free themselves from the hatred and anger.

I can't say that I could arrive at the same place as they did after the experiences they had.

But then where does forgiveness really play in? In our schools, the new approach to dealing with many student behaviors is through restorative practices whereby students are given an opportunity to address those who they have harmed in an attempt to repair the relationship.

Forgiveness means different things to different people. Whether someone's hurtful actions or words, criticized or sabotaged, the act of releasing the tug-of-war rope can help free us from the control of those who have harmed us. To be clear, it doesn't mean forgetting or excusing, but rather bringing peace of mind to move on.

Many benefits tie with forgiving others. Some include:

  • Healthier relationships

  • Improved mental health

  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Fewer symptoms of depression

  • A stronger immune system

  • Improved heart health

  • Improved self-esteem

Yes, a laundry list. And you might walk a little lighter as well, as the anger and bitterness can really become all absorbing and controlling, and enjoying the present is so much better than being stuck in what happened.

* Read It.

This week I'm sharing two articles. The first one is by Wayne Dyer, whose work I love love love. But....its not short. The article is a 15 step process (don't roll your eyes yet) on how to forgive someone. Yes, a bit long and this blog is intended to provide snippets. HOW TO FORGIVE SOMEONE WHO HAS HURT YOU IN 15 STEPS.

So....article two is much shorter. I love this read because it focused on a tragic event experienced by a number of Amish families back in 2012. I haven't read much about the Amish before and I can't say I entirely understand their perspective, but I do love the perspective this article paints. THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS

* Watch It.

This week's video is self-reflection from the Holocaust Museum about a set of twins who were subject to experiments during the Holocaust. Her story is about forgiveness in a way that few can tell. It's about 15 minutes, but the strength of her words and the emotions of her story will help gain a little perspective on how far some can go.

* Share it.

Every week I share pictures that you can make into cards or pass on. This week, it doesn't seem to fit. But I'll bring it back next week!

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