Blame. The word conjures lots of different ideas for different people. For those who have suffered through a recent divorce, the word ‘blame’ is often indelibly linked to one’s ex-spouse. For those whose spouses were abusive, unfaithful, or irretrievably flawed in ways that made them terrible life partners, it’s hard to consider denying them the comfort of blame. But the truth is, you don’t really have a choice. Letting go of blame is one of the greatest steps you will make after divorce.
Think of it this way. Blame, or unforgiveness, is like a piece of radioactive stone, stamped with a list of everything your ex ever did wrong. You may feel that you are justified in carrying it around with you. After all, it points to your ex as the reason for all of your troubles. But it’s not hurting your ex, it’s hurting you. The longer you hold onto it, the longer you clutch it to you and keep it close, the more you will be poisoned by it.
Radioactive gamma rays, like blame, have a much greater effect on the person who is closest to the source. If you are carrying around a whole bucket of unforgiveness with you, you are the one most likely to get sick, in the metaphorical sense. Although science has revealed that it may not be so metaphorical, after all.
Unforgiveness is actually considered to be a disease.
According to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, unforgiveness makes people sick, and then keeps them in poor health. This may sound unbelievable to you, but it’s a very real issue. On the up side, however, there is a very real solution.
“Harboring these negative emotions,… anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety,” says Dr. Michael Barry, a pastor and author of the book, The Forgiveness Project. When you think about what anxiety does to the body and the mind, it’s a rather self-explanatory situation.
Dr Barry goes on to explain that “Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer.”
So while it may sound like the “forgive your ex because it’s good for your health” school of thought has more to do with eating your vegetables than addressing your emotions, it actually isn’t. More and more scientists, doctors, psychologists and health care professionals around the world are realizing the importance of forgiveness, and the disastrous effects of unforgiveness on our collective health.
If you are struggling with blaming your ex, or can’t seem to get the hang of forgiving them for being the worst spouse in human history, it’s important that you take action. Not just because “it’s good for you”, but because your health and in many cases, your entire future, may depend on it!