Forgiveness and AFS: What is the Meaning of Forgiveness?

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM

The power of healing. What is the Meaning of Forgiveness?All of us have experienced pain, disappointment, or hurtful situations at some point in our lives. Whether you are currently going through an upsetting event or simply thinking about how someone has wronged you in the past, these emotional wounds can take a toll on our bodies mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you remain bitter and resentful, you keep yourself chained to the negative emotions that can physiologically harm your body. The body experiences the physical effects that the thoughts and feelings produce. What is the meaning of forgiveness? Practicing the art of forgiveness is crucial to living a full and abundant life. It is also another ‘tool in the toolbox’ to help those recovering from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).

What is the Meaning of Forgiveness?

It is important to take a mind-body approach when it comes to understanding how forgiveness has the potential to free the forgiver. For those suffering with AFS, holding onto resentment from the past can hinder the recovery process in the present.

When we hold on to our grudges, it can create feelings of anger and bitterness. As we relive these negative emotions, the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response is activated and adrenaline and cortisol levels rise to manage the anxiety and stress levels.

For those suffering from adrenal exhaustion, this can be detrimental which can lead to a catabolic state as symptoms worsen and the body is unable to recover properly. Some people can experience headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, increased anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. When we fail to forgive, it diminishes our well-being and keeps us from living a full and abundant life.

Defining the Meaning of Forgiveness

Truly, what is the meaning of forgiveness? Forgiveness refers to our ability to let go of painful experiences from the past, move on, and put them behind us rather than let it drag us down in our thoughts and actions. Most likely you have heard the popular saying “forgive and forget” to answer what is the meaning of forgiveness as well as the solution to overcoming anger and painful events. However, this is a short-term fix attempting to patch up emotional wounds rather than really resolve the core issues in the long run. In the same way conventional medicine deals with AFS, attempting to suppress the emotional symptoms by simply trying to forget what happened does not bring about long-term healing. Many times it is difficult to truly forget people or situations that have hurt us greatly, and memories of the pain we felt can be triggered when we least expect it.

Starting a new page. What is the Meaning of ForgivenessInstead of working hard and stressing the NEM system by trying to forget, it is much more beneficial to reframe the situation. Dr. Dick Tibbits coined the phrase and wrote the book, Forgive to Live, which involves taking on a spirit of humility and looking at the facts from an objective perspective in order to gain an understanding of our offender’s circumstances at the time of the painful occurrence. This helps us to develop and practice forgiveness that can free us from our grievances. When we are able to forgive to live, the neurotransmitter serotonin is released and can help to reduce anxiety. Forgiveness means living a life that is free from burden and reducing the stress that affects the body’s regulatory processes. It gives a more positive outlook on life that leads to hopefulness and better stress management.

The Process of Forgiveness

What is the meaning of forgiveness in process? Like recovery from adrenal fatigue, implementing the art of forgiveness takes time and intentional choices. It does not happen overnight, but involves repeating the process several times. First, it is important to recognize that hurt is unavoidable. You will undoubtedly encounter people who will offend you and future situations that will frustrate you. You can either blame and complain or choose to forgive and live. Anger and sadness are emotional states that can keep you from understanding -what is the meaning of forgiveness.

Secondly, learning to manage your response to people or situations that frustrate you can help to improve your overall health. As we forgive others, we experience what is the meaning of forgiveness in our own lives. Although there may be times you feel like you have failed in forgiving, this is an opportunity to learn the value of forgiving yourself.

Personal Forgiveness

What is the meaning of forgiveness for yourself? Forgiving yourself is just as important as forgiving others. Remember, there will be times you stumble in maintaining certain health habits or choices. Keep in mind that making mistakes does not equate to failure, because mistakes are inevitable. The main issue at hand is not the mistake itself, but our response in how we handle the mistake and whether we learn from it or not. Dwelling on the mistake will not turn back the hands of time to undo what has already been done. However, what can be done is to acknowledge the mistake, learn from it through reframing, and then do what you can to put it behind you – so that you can move forward in renewing your commitment to achieving your health goal.

Moving Forward with Forgiveness

New paths to follow. What is the Meaning of ForgivenessWhat is the meaning of forgiveness for practical application? Adrenal breathing exercises can be helpful to practice in the process of forgiveness. These exercises will help to calm your sympathetic system as you mindfully choose your response to negative stimuli. When your body is calm, you are better equipped to make positive choices to forgive and live. This will lead to resiliency in dealing with people, stressful situations, and perceived failure.

As you put the skill of forgiveness into practice, you will find freedom from frustration as you face the challenges of daily life. What is the meaning of forgiveness after this freedom from frustration? Feelings of despair will be replaced with hope for the future, and you will discover strength in choosing to let go of negative emotions. The power of forgiveness will transform your life and you will learn to manage your stress response to pain, sadness, and anger as well as better your relationships with others. Make forgiveness a meaningful activity in your life, and it will be a breath of fresh air for you – and for those around you. It will enlighten your perspective in life and aid in the recovery process of AFS.


Dr. Dick Tibbits’ book “Forgive to Live”

Better Health Channel –

© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

The power of healing will leave you asking, what is the meaning of forgiveness?