I just read this inspiring book from 2016 by the late psychiatrist Dr. Jerry Jampolski and psychologist Dr. Diane Cirincione (who is also Jerry’s widow). Jerry passed away at 95 in 2020. They are the co-founders of the Center For Attitudinal Healing in Tiburon, California, which has grown into an international organization, Attitudinal Healing International. The “attitude adjustment” referred to in the title is being less judgemental, more forgiving, and more unconditionally loving. My favorite part of the book is a lot of stories of happy elders who live by these principles.
I find that the better I can follow these principles the happier I am. As we grow older, we can drag along the accumulated baggage of decades of guilt and resentment. Forgiveness helps dump this load, which is a great relief. And various authors will point out that forgiveness does not mean condoning bad actions, instead, it is a refusal to carry around resentments.
People can be concerned that if they are too unconditionally loving and too forgiving, they may be taken advantage of. I talked about that previously here. But it is not necessarily all or nothing. To get started trying this, it can be combined with “don’t sweat the small stuff”, and being more forgiving and less judgemental about “small stuff”. An example is the sometimes apparently rude behavior of other drivers on the road. Baby steps like this are a good start, and then forgiveness can become more prevalent over time.