Forgiving as heart disease remedy

24Jan 2016
Our Reporter
Guardian On Sunday
Forgiving as heart disease remedy

The other day I decided to get rid of all the downloaded photos and videos I get from different WhatsApp groups I find myself in.

Chatting whatsApp

I say I find myself in because I don’t even know why I am in some of them though I don’t want to quit as WhatsApp will be quick in broadcasting to everyone that I’ve left. So, what I do is mute the groups and only scroll through them when stuck in traffic or when in a boring meeting.
Going back to the photos, I discovered I had close to 4,000 photos and videos in my phone. You know now that I think about it; imagine if those were physical photos I was carrying, then how many photo albums would I shoulder? Of course not to mention the video load.
Remember those big video tapes that were the size of an A5 size book? Imagine how many of those I would have had to be carrying around everywhere I went. The image that comes to my mind is hilarious. Let’s just say people would think I need to be in a mental hospital.
Anyway, after deleting all the downloaded photos and videos, I remained with about 2,000 legit photos and videos that I have taken over the years. After deleting the photos and videos I realized how much “baggage” I had subjected my phone and myself, walking around with it in my pocket or handbag every time I had the phone on me.
Thinking from a different perspective, though this is not the topic of the day, I realized this is what happens every day. We walk around with so much unwanted baggage in our hearts and minds all the time.
Could be we are harbouring grudges in our hearts because of people who used abusive language to us, or like it happened this week, someone swindling me out of my hard earned money.
I did a job for someone, but then he blatantly refused to pay me for a service I had rendered him and his company. If he didn’t have the money to pay I would understand because we all go through moments of dryness. This is not the case with this person; it’s just a habit because it was the second time he had done this to me. Anyway, I have learned my lesson.
Going back to issues we harbour in our hearts, the list of unnecessary stuff we carry around can go on and on and on again and again. What we do not know is that these things slow us down because we seem to be not focused on where we are going, but on what is pulling us down.

Can you imagine trying to run a marathon with a luggage on your head, your back, your hands, on your feet, in your pockets and what have you? How would you even attempt to do this? It would probably take you one day to make it to 5kms. This is what baggage does to us.
Actually I’ve changed my mind. Let me dwell on this topic for now even though this is not what I wanted to write about today. I feel in my heart that someone out there needs to read this article now, today.
To make it very clear to you over how keeping stuff in our hearts affects us, I’ll use an example of a hot coal. Imagine a situation where someone wrongs you so deeply, that you find it very difficult to forgive him.
Maybe he has killed someone close to you, or raped your sister, or cheated on you, or makes it hard for you to progress at work, etc. Of course none of these things are easy to forgive. But unfortunately, unless you forgive, every time you meet the person who hurt you the pain comes back again as fresh as it just happened today.
Now, I’d like you to imagine that every time the pain comes back to you it is the equivalent of a hot coal in the palm of your hand. Question is, how long do you think you can hold that coal in your hand? Would you even want to hold it anyway?
Unless you are psycho, or there’s something very wrong with you, I do not think you would pick a hot coal and hold it in your hand unless it was an emergency of some sort, e.g. the coal fell on something and unless you remove it fast it would cause a fire. Since you have nothing in view to hold the coal with, you grit your teeth and pick up the coal, dashing for the nearest tap so that you can cool your fingers. That is an understandable situation.
So, if you can’t hold a hot coal in your hands even for five seconds, why hold a grudge or past pain for years in your heart? Can you imagine if that pain was a hot coal how much damage it would have done to your heart? I know it is not easy. However, the best thing you can do for yourself is to let got and forget it even happened. There is a very wise gentleman called Steve Maraboli who said this about holding grudges, “Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of yesterday. Holding a grudge and harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people...but not those who have hurt us, forget them, and instead get even with those who have helped us.”
Think about that for a minute. My take-out from this statement is that instead of focusing on all those people who have wronged you, how about focusing on all the people who have done you good and find a way of repaying the good deeds. Better still, why not forgive those who hurt you and find a way of continuing to do good stuff to them even though you think in your heart that they don’t deserve anything good from you? After all, God forgives us every second we are alive because as human beings, we keep sinning for as long as we are awake. In fact, others sin when they are even dead asleep in their dreams. Sorry, I digress.
I totally concur with what Steve says and even more so with whoever said, “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” I mean, how would that even work? So let’s all do ourselves a small favour; let’s delete all the unnecessary stuff from our hearts to get free room where we can store good stuff that makes more sense to us. Let’s remove all the weight of unforgiveness from our hearts and free a few more GBs of space in our hearts that we can put to good storage use.
What’s your call going to be? I don’t know about you but I choose to delete and purge all the unwanted stuff from my heart and pave way for good stuff.
Get deleting this weekend and be careful what you allow yourself to save in your heart.
Wishing you all a baggage-free week.

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