Archive for May, 2019

I find that whenever I forgive someone, it is never really over. What I mean is I can wake up weeks later and I am angry all over again. This is getting discouraging. What can I do to be rid of the anger so it does not return?

This is actually a more common question than you might imagine. Anger is uncomfortable for us and when it is intense, it can be unhealthy for us. Something to keep in mind is this: As you continually forgive, I mean truly persist, then the anger will diminish. It will move to a more healthy level. A key is for you to be in control of your anger rather than the anger to be in control of you. The emotion of anger may be with you for a long time, but the emotion of unhealthy anger will not be. For now, let us make this the goal—not to be entirely rid of the anger but to persist in forgiving until the anger is manageable. When anger comes to visit unexpectedly a week or a month from now, be prepared to forgive again. The more we practice forgiveness, the more quickly we actually forgive. So, please be encouraged.

For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.

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I suffer from chronic anxiety. Will this alter how I go through the forgiveness process relative to those who are not suffering in this way?

Sometimes our anxiety comes from not feeling safe. Sometimes our not feeling safe emerges when others treat us unfairly. In other words, you may be expecting poor treatment from others now, even those who usually are fair. A first step may be to think of one person who may have hurt you and at whom you still harbor resentment. You can forgive through the exact same pathway as described, for example, in the book, Forgiveness Is a Choice. With anger lessened, anxiety can diminish. Of course, this will vary for each person. We have to be gentle with ourselves as we learn to forgive, to give up anger, and to know with some confidence that we can meet the next interpersonal challenge with forgiveness, helping us to meet these challenges with less anxiety than in the past.

To learn more, read Forgiveness Is a Choice.

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In your book, Forgiveness Is a Choice, you talk about finding meaning in suffering. You talk about growing beyond yourself. What does this mean?

When people find meaning in suffering they often develop a deeper sense of what it means to be a person. You may begin to see, for example, that your suffering has shown you that all people suffer, all people are emotionally wounded to one degree or another. You begin to realize that your suffering is making you a more sensitive person to other people. In other words, your world expands as you see humanity more deeply.

For additional information, see Forgiveness Is a Choice.

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I was hurt in a 5-year relationship and now I am hesitant to get into any other relationship. Does this lack of courage on my part suggest that I have not forgiven the one who hurt me?

The issue here seems to be one of a lack of trust. You may or may not have forgiven the one with whom you were in a relationship for the 5 years. Even if you have completely forgiven, you still may lack trust and this is not a sign of unforgiveness. It is a sign that you know hurt is possible when you commit to others. Forgiveness can help with taking the risk and at the same time your using common sense in the new relationship, along with sincere acts of trustworthiness by the other, should help to slowly create a trust with the new person.

For additional information, see 8 Keys to Forgiveness.

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I sometimes wonder if people need first to forgive themselves instead of others. Here is what I mean: Person A is dissatisfied with herself for past failings and so gets angry at others. Person A is displacing her anger now onto these others. If she could forgive herself, then maybe she could see that these others were not as unjust to her as she once thought.

This is definitely possible, but surely is not always the case. Sometimes, as we know, people are unjust to us and our disappointment within ourselves is not the cause of our anger toward these people .Yet, if you sense that Person A, someone you wish to help, is continually finding fault with many people and your sincere judgement is that these others are not behaving nearly as badly as Person A is saying, then yes, your  plan of action seems reasonable. Gently ask Person A if she is dissatisfied with herself, perhaps she has broken her own standard. Self-forgiveness then may be the best place to start.

Learn more at Self-Forgiveness.

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