Archive for August, 2020

My friend, Doloris, is upset with one of her parents. I can see that she would benefit from forgiving. Yet, she will not listen. What do you suggest that I do?

You do not want to pressure Doloris into forgiving. At the same time, you do not necessarily want to ignore your friend who could be better off psychologically by considering forgiveness. I recommend that you be aware of Doloris’ inner pain. When she expresses that pain (as fatigue or bodily tensions or deep anger), you could focus on that pain and ask her if she has a way of reducing or eliminating that pain. If she has no effective strategies in mind, it is then that you might consider suggesting forgiving as a way to get rid of the pain. I have found that pain is a great motivator toward healing and forgiving is one path to that healing.

For additional information, see 8 Reasons to Forgive.

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If a person seeks revenge instead of following the steps of forgiving and then that person reports great inner relief, could it be said that this is a form of forgiving? I say that because the revenge and forgiving both lead to the same end of feeling better.

Actually, no. Revenge-seeking and forgiving are entirely different. Even if they lead to a similar inner conclusion, we have to remember that the outward conclusion is radically different for revenge and forgiving. In getting revenge, the person may receive retaliation from the other, in which case the “feel good” scenario melts away. In forgiving, the person who gives love may receive love back. Even if this does not happen, at least the other person’s quest for retaliation may not be present any longer. We cannot confuse revenge and forgiving by focusing on outcomes only. As one final thought, the “feel good” experience in revenge might be very short-lived. Revenge does not necessarily lead to a cure for resentment, but only a temporary reprieve from it.

For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.

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What do you recommend in this situation. My friend has been deeply hurt by an employer. Yet, the friend refuses to speak with me about this. She, in other words, is not trusting anyone with her thoughts and feelings about this. What can I do?

The best you can do right now is to unconditionally love your friend. Her internal wounds are too new for her to talk. Being there as a support for her, even if she says nothing, may increase her trust. When she is ready, she will talk with you.

For additional information, see All You Need is Love.

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I am trying to forgive my sister. I was very angry with her. Unfortunately, I dumped my anger on her and now she has to forgive me for doing this. What do you suggest?

It is common in close relationships that both people may have to forgive the other at the same time. There is nothing wrong with this. A key is this: Please keep in mind that each of you may be at a different point in the forgiveness process. For example, you may be very ready to forgive her, but she is still too angry to consider forgiving you. In a situation like this, I recommend that you go as deeply as you can in forgiving her and, at the same time, apologize to your sister for “dumping” your anger onto her. Your apologizing may aid her process of forgiving.

For additional information, see Forgiveness Is a Choice.

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I had a close friend group. Because of Quarantine our friendship got strained. All of the friends, except for me, are getting into college, transition to their next stage of life. I have always felt like a burden and worthless compared to them. So, being friends with them made me feel like I had worth. We now have had some conflicts and I hurt one of the friends who cannot get past the conflict, even though I apologized.  She does not believe I have grown, even though I have. What can I do?

I recommend four approaches:

1) Please reflect on the fact that you have inherent (built-in) worth no matter your state in life.  Your friends are not more important than you are just because they are going to college.  You all share the fact that each of you is special, unique, and irreplaceable;

2) Your apologizing is a very good first step.  Congratulations for doing this.  It now is time for some patience.  Sometimes others are not ready to receive our apologies just yet and so we have to wait for a while;

3) If your friend continues to say that you “have not grown,” you could begin to forgive her for this incorrect judgement;

4) Once you have forgiven her for this, you might consider re-approaching her with this: You already have shown remorse or inner sorrow.  You already had repented as seen in your apology.  Is there anything else she thinks that she needs from you now so that her trust toward you can become re-established?

If you engage in these four approaches, it is my hope that your friendship with her and with your group will occur.

For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.

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