The Power of Forgiveness | The Science of Happiness


Particpant 1: You were so cold to my friends
and so incredibly rude. P2: I do have value, dammit.
P3: I need to forgive so then that I’m not bitter towards the next guy that comes around. Julian: Forgiveness, what does that even mean? Does it mean admitting you’re wrong? Is it
a sign of weakness? If you’re asking for something do you lose the upper hand. How many times
have you decided not to forgive someone. Maybe they didn’t deserve it. What’s the point,
why even bother, right? Hey, it’s fine, it’s none of my business, we don’t have to get
into them. Let’s get selfish for a minute. What’s in it for you? What would you say if
I told you that psychologists have found a substantial correlation between reduced stress,
better heart health, lower anxiety, lower pain perception, and most importantly, higher
overall happiness all attributed to your ability to be a forgiving person. Well today we thought
we would dive in check it out for ourselves. As usual we brought in a selection of subjects,
gave them all a test that gave us a fairly good idea of their level of happiness. And
as usual they had no idea what we were doing. We started by asking them to close their eyes
and picture somebody that they were currently holding a grudge against or had some sort
of unresolved conflict with. P1: Okay.
Julian: You got that person in mind? P1: Mhm.
P3: Mhm. P2: Mhm.
Julian: Then we asked them to write out who this person was, what the event was that caused
this tension between them, how they felt about it, and most importantly we asked them to
in their own words and in their own way, try and forgive that person.
You had a bit to say didn’t you. P4: A bit. Yeah.
P5: Well, it’s my sister. P3: We dated.
P4: It’s kind of been in my head a lot so getting it down on paper kind of gave me an
image of what I felt pretty much. P2: Well this particular person was my stage
partner in a magic act that me and this person did together.
Julian: Go on! P5: And we never got to hang out as often
as I wished. Julian: Since you already have it written
out do you think you would be willing to share it with us?
P4: Yeah sure! P1: Yeah, it was a colleague at work.
Julian: There’s one more bit to this, would you be willing to do it into a mirror?
P2: A mirror? Julian: Yes!
P1: Sure. I feel like we are work colleagues and we
should have a more of a common respect for each other.
P2: So, we started trying to develop a different show together and as that started happening
everything started breaking down and we would just get into worse and worse fights.
P4: This person was a girlfriend I had a while back. Things escalated quick with us and we
enjoyed each others company but what I found out about her I couldn’t bring myself to forgive.
P1: I would love to be valued at work. Appreciation, just a small at the end of the day thank you.
You did a good job. P3: This is a case of just knowing someone
for a very long time and being just the one person that he always went to when things
would go wrong. P4: I found out that most of the stories she
told me about her life were all lies. P2: He just decided to up and essentially
leave for four months and completely ruin any chances I had of starting another act.
P4: I’m not sure if she was just trying to seem like an interesting person or just wanted
some attention, but she already had mine. P1: I’ve tried to forgive you, I’ve tried
to forgive you many times for acting this way and it seems like when I do, I open myself
up to getting the door slammed in my face again. P2: I am valid as a performer, I do have ideas and I can create things and I have created
things. P1: In order for me to completely forgive
you I feel like I need to feel the respect that you give to everybody else on me as well.
I don’t feel that. P5: However, not that I am out in Los Angeles,
thousands of miles away from home, I’m afraid I’ll never have as great of a chance to help
you through life struggles. P3: You never know who to trust but you can’t,
I can’t put everything on him. But you know when it did end, I was a little relieved because
I didn’t do it on my own for this whole seven years.
P2: We were doing this act for four years and I got really like. Even you know like
you can logically understand that you do have value in the world if you want that from one
particular person it’s just going to take a little while to let go of everything.
P1: And I know sometimes that I am a difficult person.
P3: Sometimes we want to change people. P1: I feel like we would be better if we could
forgive each other and just kind of start anew, people make mistakes.
P5: I want you to know I do care about you and I’m always thinking about you. If there’s
ever anything that you need from me, I’ll be there for you.
P1: If you could just treat me just like you do your best friend at work, I think we would
be completely cool! P2: I’ve had to keep a lot of stuff in but
it feels good! P4: Having a grudge is not fun and it’s sometimes,
forgiveness just comes from within. Learn to forgive and learn to move on.
Julian: Well, the results are in and we found in our subjects an average increase in happiness
of 8% but the highest increase was 28%. Now what does this mean about forgiveness. Most
people think forgiveness is something that takes two people, a forgiver and a forgivee.
But what we found today is reaping the benefits of forgiveness doesn’t require anyone except
you. Now it doesn’t mean you have to reconcile with them or even say a word to them because
forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing or forgetting what happened. Forgiveness is something you
do for yourself to lower your psychological distress by getting rid of those negative
emotions. So, is there anybody from your past you’re holding a grudge against? I’ve shown
you the door, now it’s up to you to walk through it. I’m Julian, and this has been The Science
of Happiness. SoulPancake
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Daniel Yohans

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