Forgiveness for Individuals: Learning to Forgive Others
How Forgiving Are You?
When someone hurts you, are you more likely to turn the other cheek–or slash their tires?
Find out how forgiving you are by taking one or both of these short quizzes:
This quiz draws on a scale created by forgiveness research pioneer Michael McCullough and his colleagues, offering insight into how we respond to those who do us wrong. ⇒
« Another Quiz; A Different Scale
Here’s another quiz that helps measure how forgiving you are. Assessing forgiveness as a dimension of personality (Warren Jones, Individual Difference Research) on The Power of Forgiveness website.
Countless victims who have been deeply hurt by another and who are caught in a vortex of anger, depression, and resentment have discovered the life-changing benefits of forgiveness.
As creator of the first scientifically proven forgiveness program in the country, Dr. Robert Enright has written a book, Forgiveness is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope, that shows how forgiveness can reduce anxiety and depression and increase self-esteem. Filled with wisdom, encouragement, and focused journaling exercises, the book leads the reader on a path that will bring insight, personal growth, and release. It can be used as a treatment manual whether you are working with a counselor or on your own.
Scientifically-Proven Forgiveness Research
Dr. Enright’s forgiveness research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison stretches back more than 25 years and includes more than 100 publications. Check out our website’s Research Page to learn more about
Dr. Enright’s positive results in studies with targeted subjects including:
- emotionally abused women
- incest survivors
- cardiac patients
- terminally ill, elderly cancer patients
- drug rehabilitation
- Students in grades K-4 through 12th
You can read the full text of his most significant research articles, most
of which are peer-reviewed experimental studies, in which individuals forgive or learn about forgiveness.
“If I hadn’t learned to forgive, I may not even be alive today.”
Read (and watch the video of) the dramatic story of Jayne Valseca whose treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America included forgiveness therapy. Watch a short video about the amazing power forgiveness has had on her life and on those around her. You’ll be amazed. . .
Why is Forgiveness so Hard?
"Science is discovering what religion has always known: forgiveness is good for us. But that doesn't make it any easier."
That's the opening of an article for AEON Magazine titled "Letting Go" by California writer Amy Westervelt, who writes on health issues primarily for The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian. In this article, she documents the science proving that forgiveness is healthy, but struggles to figure out why is it so hard. Read the full article and watch a related video.
Self-Care for Your Mental Health
The significant benefits of forgiveness are of little use to you if you aren't around to embrace them. That's where self-care comes in. Here are some basic tips from Brad Krause--self-care guru, writer and life coach--on taking better care of yourself.
Self-care encompasses all the actions you do every day to keep yourself in good health, such as exercise, eating well, and brushing your teeth. However, it also includes the smaller, overlooked things you can do to help with your mental health. These are not always obvious to us, so it is useful to reevaluate our habits and routines to gear them toward a happier, less stressful life.
1) Take Time to Relax
This is perhaps the most important act of self-care you can do for your mental well-being. Set some time aside every day for unwinding but be mindful of what you choose to do. For many people, relaxing means binging a TV show, playing a video game, or browsing the web, which does not allow us to truly unwind.
This is why taking just 15-20 minutes to sit in absolute silence and focus on your breathing can be extremely beneficial for your well-being. If you can, create a dedicated space in your home for this, away from distractions and other people. Make it as comfortable and soothing as possible and make sure no one can interrupt you during your mindfulness practice.
See the entire list of self-care tips here. Read: Self-Care Strategies for Cancer Patients
Find a Helping Professional
If you want to find a psychologist or other helping professional to work with, check out this informative fact sheet from the American Psychological Association called How to Choose a Psychologist. Keep in mind that looking for a therapist is a lot like dating. You have to meet a few different ones before you find your perfect match.
Here is a helpful article called How Do I Find a Therapist Near Me? And here is a helpful list of 13 Therapist-Approved Tips for Finding a Therapist You Can Trust. As an additional option, read Reasons to Choose an Online Therapist.
For a more comprehensive approach, consider this 5-part feature entitled A Beginner's Guide to Therapy:
Part 1: How to find a therapist
Part 2: What to ask in the consult
Part 3: What to expect in the first few sessions
Part 4: How can you tell if therapy is working
Part 5: How to end therapy
With that information in hand, you can then ask your physician or another health professional to recommend a reliable psychologist or counselor. Call your local or state psychological association. Consult a local university or college department of psychology. Ask family and friends. Contact your area community mental health center. Inquire at your church or synagogue. Or, use one of these services to find a counselor in your area: 1) The American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator service; 2) the online directory of counselors maintained by Psychology Today called Find a Therapist; or, 3) fill out a brief questionnaire at BetterHelp.com to get matched to one of BetterHelp's 2,000+ licensed therapists, all of whom possess a minimum of 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience.
FOR IMMEDIATE HELP: If you feel you are in a crisis, or if you or any other person may be in danger, please contact one of these Crisis Resources for immediate assistance in the US or around the world.
For Information on Sexual Assault Issues:Visit the website of And He Restoreth My Soul created and managed by Darlene Harris. Her compilation book by the same name includes case histories and contributions from physiologists, prevention experts in the field, ministers, and other professional counselors. The book offers the guidance necessary to protect the abused and to counsel the abuser. It is available on Amazon.com.
NEW - Read the amazing story of Darlene Harris' early years (she had been raped twice by the time she was 18-years-old) and the recovery that has led her to a full-time life of providing workshops for women on sexual abuse and molestation: Your Forgiveness Story.