Author Archive: directorifi

What if, when I forgive, I am not as happy as I was before the person treated me unfairly.  Then might it be the case that I have not actually forgiven?

When we are treated unfairly by others we sometimes lose something, such as a relationship or we leave our job.  This can lead to unhappiness in the short-term.  This unhappiness does not mean that you are unforgiving.  It means that you have a difficult situation to confront.  The unhappiness in this case is not because of unforgiveness.  Your forgiveness, even if it is to a small degree right now, may help you achieve happiness in the future as you adjust to the new situation.

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As a follow-up, do I have to engage in what you call “deep forgiving” to say that I actually forgive?

Actually, no, you do not have to engage in what I called “deep forgiving” (in my answer to your most recent question) for you to be forgiving.  We can forgive to lesser and greater degrees.  If you wish the other well, but you still have anger and are not ready to give a gift of some kind to the other person, you still are forgiving.  There is room to keep growing in the moral virtue of forgiveness and so more practice may prove to be worthwhile for you.

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If I forgive but do not reconcile, would you say that I truly have forgiven?

Reconciliation is not a necessary condition to forgive.  Yet, if you do not reconcile, whether you have truly forgiven includes such issues as these: Do you wish the other person well?  Do you see the worth and human dignity of the person?  Do you have a softened heart toward the person?  Are you willing to offer an unconditional gift of some kind to the other (doing so as an end in and of itself rather than for a reward)?  All of these issues are part of deep forgiving.

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You talk about the “worldview” or one’s philosophy or theology in life.  Suppose I forgive but cannot reconcile with the one who hurt me.  Might this lack of reconciliation keep me bitter, keep me mistrustful, and actually not alter my worldview to a more positive state once I forgive?

Forgiving can help us to see the special, unique, and irreplaceable character of each person, not just toward the one you are forgiving.  When this happens, your trust can increase, not toward the one who hurt you and who remains unrepentant, but now toward more people in general.  As you forgive, you realize that all people are capable of love, even though some do not necessarily express it.  Some will choose not to love, in which case your trust remains low toward them, but you also begin to realize that other people, who have the capacity to love, do want to grow in this moral virtue.  It is in this realization by the forgiver that the worldview can become more positive as trust, toward some, is realistically enhanced.

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I don’t care for the Uncovering Phase of the forgiveness process.  I want to skip it and go right to the Decision Phase of forgiving.  What do you think?

If you have considerable anger or other negative effects from an injustice which you suffered, it may be best to take a look at these effects of what happened in the Uncovering Phase.  The Uncovering Phase does not ask you to go back and relive the trauma, but instead to see what effects are now present to you because of the injustice.  These can be signals for you that you: 1) might need to do very deep forgiveness that can take time, or 2) you are not deeply impacted and so the forgiving may be shorter in your case. Further, you can measure the outcome of your forgiving by examining, at the end of the forgiveness process, the degree to which the negative effects have improved or not.  This latter point can assist you in deciding whether or not to continue with the forgiveness process.

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