Tagged: “break free from the past”

I don’t get it.  Why does the forgiveness process involve the victim trying to see the woundedness in the one who acted wrongly?  So what if that person was treated badly by others.  How does that take away my inner torment?

The point of seeing the woundedness in the other, if those wounds exist, is to slowly start to engender some empathy and compassion in you for that person.  In other words, the point is to see a person who is more than the injustices against you.  Your seeing the other’s wounds can be a first step in your softening your heart toward that person.

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What do you see as the most common misconception about what forgiving is?

I think right now the mot common misconception is this:  When I forgive I try to “move on” from the hurtful situation.  As I move on, then the inner pain may lessen.  Yet, in my experience with others, no matter how far you try to run from the pain, it runs even faster than you.  So, if you try to run from the pain for two weeks, as you stop to rest, there is the pain right beside you asking the question, “What do you want to do now?  Shall we reflect even more on me, the pain, now?”  Forgiveness is not a moving on from the pain, but instead is a moral virtue of offering good toward the offending other person.  The paradox is this: As you engage in goodness toward that other person, it is you who is healed.

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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.

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Do most people decide spontaneously to forgive or do they need some persuading to give it a try?

In my experience, many people misunderstand what forgiving is, equating it with reconciliation or excusing the other person’s behavior.  In such cases, people are hesitant to forgive.  So, in such cases, people first need some time to learn about what forgiveness actually is, which tends to quiet fears.  Then people are more willing to try forgiving.

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