Archive for July, 2020
Here are three cautions for you:
- If you reconcile too quickly without the other showing any remorse, repentance, or recompense, then this could be a false reconciliation in which you may be hurt again in the same way.
- Please do not think of forgiving and reconciling as the same. You can forgive from the heart, but then not reconcile if the other continues to be a danger to you. If you equate the two, then as you forgive, you may feel a false obligation to reconcile.
- If you are still angry and not forgiving, then, without realizing it, you might use reconciliation as a weapon, in which you come together in a superficial way and then you keep reminding the other of how bad he/she has been and how good you have been. This is why you need forgiveness to occur before a deep reconciliation occurs.
For additional information, see Do I Have to Reconcile with the Other When I Forgive?
Reconciliation is different from forgiveness. When we reconcile, this is a process of two or more people coming together again in mutual trust. Reconciliation is conditional on the other person’s willingness to change, if he or she was the one who acted unfairly. Forgiveness, in contrast, can be offered unconditionally to the other as a form of respect, understanding, compassion, and even love, even if there is no reconciliation. So, you can forgive without reconciling.
With all of this as background, here are four questions which might help you decide if you are ready to reconcile (and I am presuming that the other is the one who has hurt you):
1) Has the other shown an inner sorrow about what he or she did? We call this remorse;
2) Has the person verbally expressed this sorrow to you. We call this repentance;
3) Has the person made amends for what happened (and we have to ask if he or she has done so within reason because sometimes we cannot make full amends. For example, if someone stole $1,000 from you but truly cannot repay it all, then you cannot expect that he or she can make amends in any perfect way). We call this recompense;
4) If the person has shown what I call the “three R’s” of remorse, repentance, and recompense, then do you have even a little trust in your heart toward the person? If so, then perhaps you can begin a slow reconciliation, taking small steps in rebuilding the relationship. Your answer to these four questions may help you with your question: How do I know that I now am ready to reconcile?
For additional information, see: I thought it was possible to forgive someone without ever trusting them again. Is this not true?
What would you advise when you see that a child is so angry that he should forgive, but he cannot let go of the anger?
First, it is the child’s choice to forgive or not. If you hover over the child and demand forgiving, this could do more harm than good. Let the child be drawn to forgiveness. Perhaps you can watch a film in which a character forgives. Let the child see that and then ask such questions as these:
“Did you see what that character in the film did?
Why do you think the character forgave, even though so hurt and angry?
What happened after the forgiving, what was the consequence of the forgiving?
When we are really angry, one thing to think about is forgiving the other. It can do you a lot of good.
What do you think?”
For additional information, see Your Kids Are Smarter Than You Think.
How do I forgive my husband, daughter, and future son-in-law for treating me so horribly during this past year planning my daughter’s wedding and they didn’t want any of my suggestions? They just wanted our $45,000 and basically decided now not to have any type of reception, just keep the money for a house and have no celebration with my family or my husband’s family. She’s our only daughter and my husband gave her all this money behind my back without consulting me. She will be married on Saturday in a civil ceremony with a gathering at the in-laws apartment.
I have some questions for you:
1) Would you be willing to commit to doing no harm to your husband, your daughter, and your new son-in-law even in the context of your having the opportunity to somehow hurt them? If you answered, “Yes, I will commit to doing no harm,” then you are on the forgiveness journey. This is a big step in the process;
2) Have you tried to see each of their weaknesses, their confusions, their wounds that may have wounded you? If not, perhaps you need to do some of this cognitive work, to see them in a wider perspective than only their injuries toward you;
3) Do you think that your will is strong enough to do the work outlined in #1 and 2 above? If so, that work could lead to your forgiving if you give this time.
So, what do you think? Have you found your way onto the path of forgiveness? Let me know and I will do all that I can to help you onto the forgiveness path.
As one further resource which may be helpful to you, here is my latest blog at Psychology Today. The theme centers on being betrayed by others:
If forgiveness is intended to quell my anger toward other persons, then what am I supposed to do when I find myself angry with circumstances or “fate”? For example, suppose a hurricane destroys my home. How do I get rid of that anger if I am not supposed to forgive? And why not forgive a hurricane?
Forgiveness is the offer of goodness toward people who have acted unfairly. You cannot be good to a hurricane and so forgiveness is not the appropriate response in this case. Instead, I recommend working on acceptance of what happened.
It did happen, you cannot change that, and so fighting internally against the situation would seem to get you nowhere in terms of a rebuilt house. It is certain that your anger will not stop the next hurricane from barreling though your community. This is why I suggest acceptance which is a kind of surrender which can relax the muscles and calm the nerves so that anger does not take a toll on you. Further, you can take positive steps such as making plans to rebuild the home and making it, as best you can, strong enough to withstand at least some of the hurricanes that may occur in the future.
For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.