Whenever I try to reconcile with my partner, I am reminded of the mean things that he did. It kind of sets back the reconciliation process. What do you recommend?
This is not uncommon. When the old feelings emerge as you try to reconcile, I recommend that you once again start the forgiveness process with this person and with a focus on the particular hurtful event. The more you go back to forgiving, the deeper the forgiveness tends to develop in you.
“Forgiveness therapy should be part of palliative care and it can work more powerfully than a pill,” Dr. Robert Enright told attendees at the Fifth Annual Healthy Aging Conference held in Madison on Sept. 9.
Dr. Enright, who pioneered the social scientific study of forgiveness beginning more than 30 years ago, has found that forgiveness increases happiness and a sense of well-being and may produce physical benefits by diminishing tensions, anger, resentment, and hurt.
“Forgiveness is surgery for a broken heart. You have the opportunity to do surgery and rehabilitation of the heart,” according to Dr. Enright. “Forgiveness offers understanding, patience, kindness, and even love to another person.”
Dr. Enright emphasized to Conference attendees that forgiveness is especially important for people to practice as they age. He said that is not only important for the health of an aging person but that older
persons also help establish their family as a “forgiving community” and teach their children and grandchildren about forgiveness.
The Forgiveness Program developed and espoused by Dr. Enright is outlined on the website of the organization he co-founded, the International Forgiveness Institute. It is detailed in several of the books he has written including:
Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope – This is a self-help book for people who have been deeply hurt by another and are caught in a vortex of anger, depression, and resentment.
The Forgiving Life: A Pathway to Overcoming Resentment and Creating a Legacy of Love – This book describes a process, followed with success by people around the world, to confront the pain; rise above it to forgive; and in so doing, loosen the grip of the depression, anger, and resentment.
8 Keys to Forgiveness – Dr. Enright’s newest book, just released this month, is a hands-on guide that walks readers through the forgiveness process in just 8 key steps.
Forgiveness Therapy: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope – Recently published by the American Psychological Association (APA), this manual is for Licensed Psychiatrists and Psychologists as well as other professional counselors.
The 5th Annual Healthy Aging Conference was hosted by Catholic Charities of Madison, WI – a private 501(c)(3) non-profit agency affiliated with Catholic Charities USA, the nation’s largest private network of people helping people.
Read more in the official newspaper of the Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald: “Catholic Charities conference focuses on healthy aging.”
I heard this statement from a person who holds a considerable degree of academic influence. The learned scholar, however, did not give a learned response as I will show in this little essay.
Suppose that Brian is driving his car and is hit by a drunk driver. Brian’s leg is broken and he must undergo surgery and subsequent rehabilitation therapy if he again will have the full use of his leg. What happened to him was unjust and now the burden of getting back a normal leg falls to him. He has to get the leg examined, say yes to the surgery, to the post-surgical recovery, and to months of painful rehab. The “burden of change” specifically when it comes to his leg is his and his alone.
Yes, the other driver will have to bear the burden of paying damages, but this has no bearing on restoring a badly broken leg. Paying for such rehabilitation is entirely different from doing the challenging rehab work itself.
Suppose now that Brian takes the learned academic’s statement above to heart. Suppose that he now expects the other driver to somehow bear the burden of doing the rehab. How will that go? The other driver cannot lift Brian’s leg for him or bear the physical pain of walking and then running. Is this then unfair to Brian? Should we expect him to lie down and not rehab because, well, he has a burden of restoring his own leg? It would seem absurd to presume so.
Is it any different with injustice requiring the surgery and rehab of the heart? If Melissa was unfairly treated by her partner, is it unfair for Melissa to do the hard work of forgiveness? She is the one whose heart is hurting. The partner cannot fix the sadness or confusion or anger……even if he repents. Repentance will not automatically lead to a restored heart because trust must be earned little by little. As Melissa learns to trust, she still will need the heart-rehab of forgiveness (struggling to get rid of toxic anger and struggling to see the worth in one who saw no worth in her) that only she can do. Once hurt by another, it is the victim who must bear the burden of the change-of-heart.
We must remember: The rehab and recovery are temporary. If the forgiver refuses to engage in such recovery, then the injurer wins twice: once in the initial hurt and a second time when the injured refuses to change because of a woeful misunderstanding that he or she must passively wait for someone else to bear the burden of change for him or her.
Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas tend to have bad consequences. Learned academics are not necessarily learned in all subjects across all cases.
WOG Blog, Women of Grace.com – A mother who was reunited with her daughter more than 17 years after the 3-day-old baby was snatched from her arms, has forgiven the kidnapper and thanked the woman “for giving her a good life.”
Celeste Nurse was only 20-years-old when she delivered a baby daughter by Caesarean section in a Cape Town, South Africa hospital back in 1997. Two days later, as she was holding the baby in her arms, Celeste dozed off. When she woke up, she learned that her daughter–whom Celeste and her husband Morne had named Zephany–had been kidnapped by a woman disguised as a nurse.
Celeste and Morne never saw their daughter again until earlier this year when their 13-year-old daughter Cassidy started high school and began to talk about an older girl she’d met ‘who looks like us’ and, despite the age difference, had become a very close friend. After some investigating by Morne and local police, a DNA test confirmed that the girl ‘who looks like us’ was indeed Zephany Nurse.
Zephany’s now-50-year-old kidnapper is due to appear in court next week. The woman told authorities that she had suffered a stillbirth shortly before snatching Zephany, whom she was able to breastfeed and pass off as her own, never confessing the truth to a soul–not even her own husband.
Even though the woman who kidnapped Zephany denied the Nurse family the joy of raising their child, Celeste says she has forgiven her.
“What she did was very wrong, they’ve been living a lie for the last 17 years, but I forgave her some time ago,” Celeste says. “Undoubtedly we will meet, and I will thank her for taking care of my daughter. Zephany has had a good life with her – my daughter is beautiful, inside and out, she’s kind and clever – they did a great job.”
Read the full story:
1) Need a Happy Ending? Read This! (Women of Grace.com)
2) Mother reunited with daughter nearly 18 years after newborn was snatched from her arms in hospital incredibly THANKS the woman who stole her ‘for giving her a good life’ (Daily Mail, London)
Think about the love that one person has given to you some time in your life. That love is eternal. Love never dies. If your mother gave you love 20 years ago, that love is still here and you can appropriate it, experience it, feel it. If you think about it, the love that your deceased family members gave to you years ago is still right here with you. Even though they passed on in a physical sense, they have left something of the eternal with you, to draw upon whenever you wish.
Now think about the love you have given to others. That love is eternal. Your love never dies. Your actions have consequences for love that will be on this earth long after you are gone. If you hug a child today, that love, expressed in that hug, can be with that child 50 years from now. Something of you remains here on earth, something good.
Children should be prepared for this kind of thinking through forgiveness education, where they learn that all people have built-in or inherent worth. One expression of forgiveness, one of its highest expressions, is to love those who have not loved us. If we educate children in this way, then they may take the idea more seriously that the love given and received can continue……and continue. It may help them to take more seriously such giving and receiving of love. We need forgiveness education……now.