|By Caterina Spinaris|
Editor’s note: This story is being shared with us by Desert Waters Correctional Outreach. The non-profit organization and its newsletter, Correctional Oasis, are dedicated to the well being of correctional staff and their families.
There is much talk in corrections about the stressfulness of the job. Mention is made of offender over-crowding, short-staffing, “difficult” coworkers.
However, often some staff appears to be more affected by negative conditions than others. Why is that? What is the vehicle through which external stressors “get to” those exposed to them?
Stress happens through people’s perception of and reaction to events in their environment. The perception of insult or danger, and the reactions of anger and fear are big stress-generating culprits. They trigger in our bodies the same biochemical reactions we would experience had a Siberian tiger pounced on us.
One form of anger is resentment, rehashing a hurtful incident and re-experiencing its insult repeatedly. People who “did us wrong” may be dead and gone, yet resentment keeps tormenting us.
The only way I know to end this misery is letting go, forgiving. In fact, psychological research shows that forgiving has beneficial influence on our health—body, soul and spirit.
In my exchanges with corrections staff I have noted that to some, forgiving amounts to defeat and “loss of face.”
For them the pursuit of justice clouds their understanding of the nature and value of forgiveness. So here are a few thoughts on what forgiving is and what it is not.
May reading these notions make it possible for you to get rid of some stress by purging old resentments and finding more peace.
Forgiving is not:
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