ORION WELLNESS NEWSLETTER                                       Vol. 3 No. 10

Fake It ‘til You Make It

In my last newsletter, I talked about the benefits of forgiveness. Using forgiveness is especially important to help you move past the bitterness and hurt of a grief event. Here is more information from my book “Grief, The Mind’s Final Frontier” on forgiveness.

There has been research conducted on the benefits of forgiveness. The Science of Happiness finds that the greatest reason to practice forgiveness is that holding on to bitterness takes a physical and mental toll on us. (Witvliet, C.V.O., Ludwig, T., and Vander Laan, K. 2001. “Granting forgiveness or harboring grudges: Implications for emotion, physiology and health.”  Psychological Science, 121, pp117-123).

Forgiveness is not:
  • Denial- pretending the offense did not occur
  • Excusing- not holding the person or group responsible for the action
  • Condoning- failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness
  • Forgetting- removing awareness or not thinking about the offense.

Forgiveness is:
  • A Gift- we give to ourselves and to someone else
  • Genuine- true forgiveness is real and authentic letting go of anger, bitterness and resentment
  • Strength- forgiveness is a sign of inner strength
  • Freely chosen- forgiveness is not a duty or obligation; it is a choice.

In order to experience the benefits associated with forgiveness, the gift must be freely given and genuine. Our bodies somehow know the difference between forgiveness granted out of obligation instead of love. (McCullough, M.E., & Witvliet, C.V., (2002). “The Psychology of Forgiveness.” In C.R. Snyder & S.J. Lopes (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology, 37, p. 71-79.

There are times when forgiving someone or your self are difficult. No matter what you do you cannot get past the hurt, pain and suffering. Science has found that this method Fake It ‘til You Make It (actually called embodied cognition) is effective even when you don’t feel it. (Emmons R. A. (2007). “Thanks! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier”. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p.205).

I have been down that road on occasion so I know its difficulty. Just uttering the words “I forgive you” required great inner strength on my part. Perhaps my anger or desire to ‘get even’ was stronger. Realizing that the better part of me was just slightly stronger I was able to say in muffled tones, “I forgive you” or “I forgive myself”.  Usually somewhere down the road I was able to revisit that situation and do a sincere, honest forgiveness.      

When you have difficulty in forgiving, remember the “Fake It til You Make It” method. It does give some peace of mind until you can do a deeper forgiveness.

How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.

—Publilius Syrus

If you need further information on forgiveness, please contact me by phone 262-787-1969 or email:  or

LIve fully through wellness,


Robert Matuszak, CGC, Owner
Orion Consulting LLC
Email:  Robert(at)
Voice: 1-262-787-1969