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    Monday, August 26, 2019-9:34:47P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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The benefits of forgiveness

FORGIVING someone increases the chances of having a healthy relationship. It also helps improves mental health and self-esteem, and decreases stress and anxiety.

In Micronesia, forgiveness or reconciliation traditionally depends on the severity of the action committed.

In Chuuk, the people use rituals to achieve justice and reconciliation in the aftermath of violence for example.

Thomas M. Landy, writing for Catholics & Cultures, said in Chuuk, “the extended family of the person who caused the harm will gather together near the compound of the offended family. Once they are close to the house, they will crawl (a sign of respect, remorse, and purpose of their visit), until somebody from the other family tells them to get up. They bring a lot of things with them like local food. If they are not told to get up, they know to leave, that the time is not yet right. Eventually, the other family is expected to receive them, and a process of reconciliation and negotiation for amends begins. Over time, the lineages talk about what the offending family needs to give up to make adequate amends. If it is serious enough, the victim’s family would ask (the offender’s family) to give land, which is traditionally the most prized and limited possession on the island, in return for the suffering they caused. Whether through giving their food or land, the family of the offender pays a price to the family of the victim. Some will even give a child for adoption as a member into the new family. Or the offender himself can even be given for adoption into the family of the victim.”

In Palau, tradition dictates that a person who offended someone must pay in traditional money or in-kind depending on the offense committed in order to be forgiven.

According to Saipan resident Veisinia Peteru, “Forgiveness is an individual responsibility. It is self-healing to forgive others who do wrong to you. If you forgive those who did wrong to you, you will continue to live a happy life.”

Another island resident, Doris Paran, noted that people now resort to the court or justice system to resolve even disputes between family members.

After her divorce, she said she was hurt, but eventually she learned to forgive her former husband. Now everyone in her family, including the children, are getting along fine.

In “The Power of Forgiveness” posted online by Harvard Medical School, Dr. Tyler VanderWeele was quoted as saying:

“Forgiving a person who has wronged you is never easy, but dwelling on those events and reliving them over and over can fill your mind with negative thoughts and suppressed anger. Yet, when you learn to forgive, you are no longer trapped by the past actions of others and can finally feel free.”

For more information, go to https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/the-power-of-forgiveness.