January 27, 2015

Why Forgiveness Doesn’t Come Easy.

dede titus/Flickr

We’re told from a young age that to forgive is a virtue and forgiveness sets us free, but frankly, forgiveness doesn’t come easy for most of us.

Sure, we can try our hardest with an open heart, but true forgiveness is a skill that resides in the brain versus the heart.

Regardless of how big hearted you may be, if you’re like most of us, complete forgiveness isn’t easy.

Let me first ask you question, and then I’ll give you a solution.

Have you ever experienced a relationship as smooth and easy until an argument happens, then suddenly you can’t seem to do anything right? One hundred percent of my clients have…in fact, even after apologies and amends, no matter what they do, the relationship never seems to get back on track leaving them wondering—what happened?

 Well let me tell you, new negative neuro-pathways were laid down, that’s what happened.

Once a significant problem unfolds in a relationship, it’s human nature to keep an eye out for something else that might go wrong. You and your partner don’t have a problem with forgiveness, your brains do.

Science has proven what spiritual teachings support: we create the world around us to match our inner thought patterns. Now, as you look at one another through newly negative eyes, it’s actually a primal response to be hyper sensitive for a while.

While this might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, your amazing brain, with its many functions and miracles, actually dictates your life experience through a few components:

  • When we consider what’s affecting forgiveness, there are two key players in the brain: the thoughts we think and the left pre-frontal cortex (LPF)
  • When your brain has a thought, the left pre-frontal cortex looks for examples in life to substantiate that thought, and the left pre frontal cortex will stop at nothing to prove your every thought correct. Kinda scary, eh?

Remember the saying looking at life through rose-colored glasses? When we think a thought and look out into our world, we literally see what we think we will see.

The left pre frontal immediately begins to evaluate everything it sees, hears and feels to prove our thought to be true. This is called mapping. If we have the thought: my partner doesn’t care, we lay down new neuro pathways. This is because the brain has been proven to be elastic, not fixed. This means it can be changed. The LPF is like a dream employee at our beck and call ready to jump into action proving the validity of every thought, thus deepening each new neuro pathway.

So what’s the big deal if you have the fleeting thought your partner doesn’t care anymore?  Well, sadly your LPF won’t notice the wonderful things they do for you either, because your loyal LPF looks for everything they don’t do to support your recent thought that they just don’t care anymore.

Your life changes when you realize how many times you’ve looked through negative-colored glasses, because unbeknownst to any of us, part of the brain is always out there looking to prove our thoughts and fears correct every waking moment.

Think about the ramifications this has on all of your close personal relationships, even professional ones.

After a fight or disappointment, we’re looking at the one we love through cloudy glasses on high alert for proof they don’t care anymore or they’re up to no good, missing all the while the good that is present because we’re literally blind to it.

Can you understand, now, why an argument might leave you both feeling hyper sensitive for a while? Your brains are on the lookout for more pain (talk about paranoia).

Let’s talk about your professional life. If your boss criticizes you, from that point forward you’re probably going to be stressed out looking for proof you’re about to be fired. Your brain isn’t going to look for proof you’re appreciated and performing well because your LPF heard the criticism, and your resulting fearful thoughts, and is already busy proving those fearful thoughts to be true!

No wonder fear builds and expands upon itself spreading like a slow virus out of control.

Think life is hard or people can’t be trusted? Your brain is out looking for proof it’s true.

The brain wants to back our thoughts no matter what—kinda like buying a red car and suddenly everywhere you go, you’ll see red cars. Your focus literally changed to support your new reality. Whatever we think, good or bad, out goes the left pre-frontal cortex evaluating the world to prove us right.

Once I realized this, it blew my grey matter mind.

I wondered: we say people can change but do we really let them in our head?

Thankfully, this also works on the flip side: when we think good, happy, abundant, healthy, loving thoughts, the LPC will be out there looking to prove all is well in our world and delivers proof to us immediately. This is why a great day begins with a great start, and on the other side of the coin, a bad start, usually leads to a miserable unfolding.

Think thoughts like, “Oh, the world is falling apart,” and the left pre-frontal cortex will go looking to prove that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Now we know why falling in love makes the whole world seem beautiful. Colors are brighter, smells are sweeter and the world around us is a beautiful place to be…all due to the LPF’s dedication to proving us right.

Perhaps that old saying “fake it ’til you make it” is more valuable than we realize. This is why it’s so important to look for things to appreciate in life and your relationship every day. Life’s far too short and way too long to be run by a negative brain.

Positive think isn’t woo woo—our thoughts literally shape the world we experience.

So, when you find yourself in the midst of a relationship crisis (one that you both hope to move through), it’s imperative that you take note and speak aloud the things that are going well between the two of you. Faking it until you make it, even stretching to appreciate the smallest of good things, is how you’ll put your brain back on track looking for proof that the relationship is viable and love exists.

Remember: your brain is most definitely in charge of your quality of life experience.

What you feed your brain in terms of thoughts, is what controls everything.



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 Author: Tamara Star

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: dede titus/Flickr


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