Tagged: “emotional forgiveness”

If I wait to forgive, maybe a few weeks, does this make me a bad person?  Should I try to forgive as soon as someone hurts me?

Forgiveness is a process that can take time.  When we are treated cruelly by others, we often start with a period of short-term anger.  The anger basically gives this message to the other person and to you: “I am a person of worth and you should not treat me this way.”  Allow yourself this period of short-term anger and a period of some cooling off if you need these prior to forgiving.  Once this initial anger subsides, you may be in a better position to forgive.

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This may sound kind of odd, but when I forgive someone, I can feel guilty about it. I don’t always feel guilty about forgiving someone who has treated me deeply unfairly, but occasionally, I do. I don’t think the individual deserves to be forgiven. What assistance can you provide me to lessen my guilt?

When you forgive, you might be feeling badly about yourself because you believe you are letting the other person off the hook. If this is the case, you are considering forgiveness to be a component of the virtue of justice (i.e., treating others fairly and giving them what they deserve). If this is how you are thinking, it makes sense that you could feel guilty when you forgive since you would think that you are undermining justice. We want to act justly, not support injustice, after all. However, forgiving is not about justice-seeking. Instead, forgiveness is offering goodwill to someone who has injured you, not because of what this person did to you, but despite this. When extending forgiveness, try to keep two things in mind: a) You’re not letting someone off easily, but rather, you are showing mercy, and b) you can practice justice as you show mercy by forgiving. Put another way, hold the other person to a reasonable standard of justice when you forgive. This probably will assist you in forgiving without feeling guilty.

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Does someone have to make reparations before he can forgive? I’ve noticed a recurring theme in some social media about forgiveness: Forgiving someone doesn’t happen unless the offender makes amends. I believe that the offender’s requirement is inappropriate. What do you think?

I agree with you for three reasons. First, the injured party is stuck in unforgiveness until the other thinks it’s time to make amends. This is unfair to the victim of the offense. In other words, the victim may have no way of reducing or eliminating the resentment without forgiving, which now is denied to this person.

Second, why is it impossible to be both forgiving and just, to support the other person in making changes, at the same time?

Third, no other moral virtue—such as kindness, patience, or justice—needs a particular reaction from another person before it can be exercised. Why should the one exceptional example of all the moral virtues be forgiveness?

Before someone may forgive, does the perpetrator need to offer apologies or reparations of some kind? That seems not to be the case.

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It seems to me that to forgive is to substitute a depressed and angry mood with a joyful one. You will have forgiven the person if you are able to accomplish this. How do you feel about what I just wrote?

Although you appear to have captured some of the fundamentals of forgiveness, there is more to it than that. Anger, discouragement, and resentment are among the negative feelings that change (typically slowly) into happier, joyous, and loving ones when a person goes through the process of forgiveness. We probably shouldn’t use the word “substitute” to describe the emotional transition because it implies that we just rapidly swap out one set of feelings for another, which is counterproductive given that this is a process that can take time.

In addition to changing feelings, the forgiver also changes behaviors and thoughts from negative to more positive. In addition to all of this, when people forgive, they get more accomplished and reliable at the practice of forgiveness; in certain cases, this results in a faster time to forgiveness after 100 attempts as opposed to the first. I highlight each of these aspects so that you do not come away with the impression that forgiving is essentially an emotional process and that things usually go better quickly, which is not the case for the majority of individuals who have been severely harmed by the cruel acts of others.

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Last week, there was a damaging hurricane in my region of the world. Is it ethical to urge kids to forgive such weather calamities when they get scared of such severe natural disasters? Forgiveness, in my opinion, could soothe the kids and lessen their rage when they consider these hazardous weather circumstances.

I can tell that you have good intentions when you ask this question about children. You’re looking for a method to lessen their nervousness. However, we don’t want to misinterpret forgiveness to make people feel more at ease. When someone has experienced unfair treatment from others, forgiveness takes place. Events that are weather-related cannot act unfairly for obvious reasons; they lack free will and morally good or immoral motivations. As a result, no meteorological condition or inanimate thing is capable of moral transgression and cannot be forgiven. In situations like this, I suggest working with children to accept what happened rather than asking them to forgive. Acceptance could additionally soothe their anxieties. By not introducing forgiveness to them in this situation, you are protecting forgiveness’s actual meaning for the times when a child really needs to forgive a person for unfair treatment.

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