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When you find out that you have cancer, after the shock and disbelief wear off, you look for ways to fight the disease. You find an oncologist and begin treatment. However, before you are able to truly move forward, you may have to take a look back. One path to healing emotionally from cancer is through forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the process of releasing feelings of resentment, hurt or anger for past wrongs. Many people living with cancer feel they need to forgive another person in their life for something that happened in the past. You may have been mistreated by a family member or betrayed by a close friend. Sometimes, the person you need to forgive is yourself. Some people with cancer blame themselves for past decisions or lifestyle choices.
Forgiveness is especially important when you’re fighting an illness like cancer. Now, more than ever, you need to focus on healing. The benefits of forgiveness may be experienced on many levels, including theological (your relationship with God), relational (your relationship with others) and biological (your physical well-being).
Specifically, forgiveness may help to:
Like so many things in life, forgiveness is easier to describe than to accomplish. It can be difficult to let go of the anger or hurt inside. Forgiveness can be especially challenging when, deep down, you do not believe the person is entitled to it. Yet, forgiveness doesn’t mean that you condone or excuse the wrongdoing. Though it may be difficult to conceive of, forgiveness is for you.
When you hold onto anger, bitterness and resentment, it prevents you from living your life fully. You become so wrapped up in your past hurts that you can’t enjoy the present. You may become anxious, depressed, or disconnected from others. When you aren’t able to release these feelings, you are the one who suffers.
When you let go of the negative thoughts and feelings, you can begin to focus on positive things in your life. Forgiveness can even lead to understanding and empathy for the one who hurt you. Most of all, forgiveness can bring you peace, happiness, and a sense of well-being so you can move on with your life.
NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER REGARDING FORGIVENESS DURING CANCER CARE.
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