You tend to de-couple forgiving and reconciling, but to me both forgiving and reconciling are more of a complete package than one or the other. What do you think?
Yes, if a person can forgive and then reconcile with the other, this is more complete in terms of the relationship than forgiving alone. Yet sometimes we have no choice but to only forgive because the other refuses to change hurtful behavior. So, being able to forgive and to reconcile constitute a more ideal situation, but forgiving by itself still is very important because this forgiving can set you free from resentment, which could last for the rest of your life.
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.
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.
Can you suggest at least one very effective way to motivate a person to start the forgiveness process?
I find that a person’s internal, emotional pain is a strong motivator to at lease consider forgiveness as a healing strategy. If the person has tried many different approaches, and none of them has led to significant relief, then a person often is ready to give forgiveness a try.
I have post-traumatic stress. Is it better to treat the symptoms, such as sleeplessness, first or to forgive first?
The answer depends on the symptoms of the post-traumatic stress. Because you have sleep challenges, these should be addressed first. If, instead, another person has some anger or sadness and these are not impinging on the person’s everyday life, then forgiving first can lessen these symptoms. The regulation of symptoms and forgiving can complement one another. For example, once your sleep pattern is regulated, your forgiving may help in establishing a regular sleep cycle. As the sleep cycle regulates, you may have more energy and focus to forgive well.