Archive for January, 2017
You talk of compassion, benevolence, and love, but you say that these are not part of the **decision** to forgive. Why do you not see these as part of the decision?
The decision to forgive usually is a cognitive act rather than an expression of the heart, of one’s emotions. One usually makes a decision to forgive without necessarily feeling compassion and love because we are not yet ready to offer these when we make the cognitive decision to forgive.
I recommend that you ask yourself what is your current level of anger—on a 1 to 10 scale—for each person. Order the people from the least anger you have to the greatest anger you have. Start with the one person with whom you have the least anger. This will allow you to get a sense of the forgiveness process and to practice that process before you get to the person who hurt you the most.
If I want to forgive someone, should I consider following your 20 steps in the exact order in which you describe them?
This process model was not constructed to be a rigid model in which you have to follow the sequence in the exact order. Some of the units will be irrelevant for you and so you can skip them. Sometimes, as you are near the end of the forgiveness process, your anger re-emerges. At that point it may be best to cycle back to the earlier units to once again examine and confront your anger.
You talk in your books of a “global perspective” in which a person strives to see the common humanity between the self and the offending other. If a person were to practice the global perspective with most people whom she meets on a daily basis, would this help the person to forgive when it is time to apply this perspective to someone who was cruel?
Yes, this kind of practice on those who have done nothing wrong can be good practice for the time in which there is injustice and pain and anger. Taking the global perspective with others who are not harmful will not lead to an automatic forgiving (toward those who are unfair to you), but it could make the starting of the process easier. It could make the cognitive understanding of the offending other easier as well.
The person who has forgiven should not reconcile if the offender’s behavior is deeply harmful. An unrepentant offender likely is not going to change that behavior soon.