Author Archive: directorifi

‘Psychology Today’ features Dr. Enright story on becoming proficient in forgiveness!

Dr. Enright is a regular blog writer for the national magazine, Psychology Today. On Wednesday, May 22, his most recent blog entitled, ‘Growing Proficient in Forgiving: Practice Small Acts of Love’, was featured as the “banner story at the top of the site,” which is similar to being the cover story in a magazine.

Check out the essay by clicking this link!

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I still don’t understand forgiveness without reconciliation. Don’t some people need reconciliation to complete the forgiveness process?

Reconciliation, in a genuine sense, does bring forgiveness to a more complete end.  So, yes, reconciliation is important, but not necessary to have engaged in the moral virtue of forgiving.  Why is this the case?  To forgive is your choice and your thoughts, feelings, and actions that are independent of the other person.  It is important to realize that if the other person refuses to reconcile with you, then you can go in peace knowing that you have done your best.  It can be quite freeing to realize that your forgiving in a true and deep sense is not dependent on the actions of others who have hurt you.

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If I am gravely hurt by another person, is the forgiveness journey ever truly ended?  In other words, might my sadness and anger re-emerge during my life?

Because we are all imperfect, it follows that we are imperfect forgivers.  When we are deeply hurt by others, yes, the sadness and anger can re-emerge as you say.  Yet, and this is important, as you continue to practice forgiveness, the sadness and anger lessen and your ability to more efficiently and quickly forgive increases.  So, over time, the sadness and anger tend to lessen.  When they come back, they usually are not as troublesome and you can practice forgiveness again with even better results than when you started.  So, I encourage you to have hope as you forgive.  Your sadness and anger likely will not dominate you in the future as you persevere with forgiving.

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I read recently that a person linked forgiveness to evolution.  Here is the scenario: In a tribe, if Person A behaves badly, he is let off the hook (so to speak) if he is valuable to the community.  Suppose he is a great hunter.  Those offended by him let the offense go because his hunting skills are so valuable to the community.  What do you think of this?

I think it is a fairy tale that is not correct.  Forgiveness is not a bargaining strategy, but instead is a moral virtue in which the one offended willingly decides to be good to the other, not for any gain at all for the self or for the community, but instead as goodness for itself.  Yes, a forgiver might benefit from forgiving and a community may benefit, but these are consequences of forgiving.  Consequences do not constitute forgiving itself.  So, the scenario is invented in the mind of a person who is not thinking deeply about what forgiveness is and is not.

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Asking groups of people to forgive those who have politically oppressed them is an open door to continue the oppression.  What do you think?

My answer is similar to a question I just answered regarding the questioner’s concern about not being able to stand firm in justice when forgiveness is occurring.  We need to keep in mind that forgiveness and the quest for justice exist side-by-side.  There is no danger in forgiving other groups when you realize this and act upon this knowledge.

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