We set out to write our life stories mainly because we want to capture aspects of our lives to hand down to those who come after us. We want to leave a legacy for family and friends, a worthy goal, for sure. Once we start this process however, we often discover that it has many other unexpected, often positive, outcomes.
As we recall and document aspects of our lives we may learn things about ourselves that we hadn’t realized before. Perhaps it’s just a realization that we’ve lead an interesting life or perhaps we begin to see that we have overcome considerable adversity and have become stronger as a result.
Most of us undertake life story writing later in life following years of experiences, growth, and learning. Many would suggest that this life experience brings considerable wisdom, one aspect of which is a burgeoning ability to understand and forgive.
As we reflect back on our lives we are seeing situations from the perspective of an older, more mature point of view. Think of yourself as an adolescent or young adult. Consider how you saw the world at that time. Looking back, do you see that world the same way now?
Through the lens of time and age, we can often understand better the actions of others, even those for whom we have felt resentment and anger. The adolescent girl who resented her mother’s critical and controlling behavior may now have a better understanding of the forces that were influencing her mother’s choices and actions. Perhaps, this will allow that daughter to have a gentler focus which can allow for forgiveness.
Why is this important? Considerable research indicates that toxic emotions, such as resentment and bitterness, cause actual physical harm to our bodies. As hard as it may be to truly forgive, it is good for our emotional and physical health to do so.
In this month’s issue of Chatelaine magazine, the importance of forgiveness is explored. There is some great advice for the festive season in the article – Three Words to Live by this Holiday Season: Let. It. Go.
If our life story writing brings us to a level of understanding that allows for try forgiveness, it has given us a special gift indeed. Particularly so during this season of gifting, wouldn’t you say?