Tagged: “forgiveness journey”
So, in your view, one’s subjective views of forgiveness are unimportant. You seem to discount personal opinion.
Subjective views need to be scrutinized relative to what is true about the concept of forgiveness or about many issues in the world. For example, if a person insists that 1 + 1 = 5, should we take that as this person’s truth? I think this would be an act of disrespect for the person as we are not aiding this person to properly know mathematics.
Do you think forgiveness could be set aside for the vast majority of people if most never reacted with unhealthy anger or resentment?
Forgiving others is not done exclusively because it has excellent psychological benefits, shown by research. Forgiving others also is good in and of itself because it is a moral virtue (as are justice and kindness and respect). Showing goodness as the goal of forgiving (rather than deriving a psychological benefit) is sufficient for forgiveness to be a part of your and others’ life. To address your point directly, as we both know, reacting to injustices only with temperate, short-term (not unhealthy) anger is not likely as part of the human condition. Thus, the need for forgiveness, for psychological reasons, will continue to be alive and well on this earth.
I am very frustrated with someone who has hurt me many times. I do want to forgive, but now I am wondering if you would recommend that I first deal with my frustration and anger before I start walking the path of forgiveness.
Let us distinguish between healthy and unhealthy anger. By healthy anger I mean the short-term feeling and expression of discontent over an injustice. We all get angry or sad or disrupted in some way when people are very unjust to us. Such healthy anger shows that we see ourselves as people who should be treated with respect. It is good first to allow yourself this period of experiencing healthy anger before you start the forgiveness process. In contrast, unhealthy anger is a deep feeling of resentment that does not easily go away. It disrupts one’s concentration and energy. You do not want to wait until the unhealthy anger fades because, quite frankly, if you were treated with great unfairness, then it is not likely to fade without going through the forgiveness process. In sum, first allow a period of healthy anger. Start forgiving to reduce or even eliminate unhealthy anger.
First you need to change your view of who you are as a person if you have been stuck in unforgiveness and are discouraged. The power perspective will tell you that you are less than you should be if your loved ones reject you. Do not listen to the voice of power. It is all too easy to condemn yourself when others first condemn you. Try to counter that power perspective starting now. Who are you as a person? You are someone who has inherent worth even when you struggle in life. You are someone who is special, unique, and irreplaceable even if you have unhealthy anger in your heart. You are not a failure at forgiveness.
Remember that forgiveness is a process that takes time and patience and determination. Try not to be harsh on yourself if you are struggling with this process. How you are doing in this process today is not an indication of where you will be in this process 1 month from now. Who are you?
Excerpt from R. Enright (2015). 8 Keys to Forgiveness. New York: Norton
So, how do I get over my anger if I no longer see the person? I cannot exactly vent toward this person. What do you suggest?
If you choose to forgive, that other person need not be present to you. You can begin, when you are ready, to see the inherent worth in that person. This takes time, but over time this can reduce your anger.