Tagged: “forgiveness timeline”
I work hard on forgiveness, but sometimes I get to a week in which I do not want to even think about it or what happened to me. During these times, what can I do to not feel guilty or uncomfortable about setting forgiveness aside?
Let us take an analogy here. Suppose you have a physical fitness regimen. Do you work out every week for an entire year or do you take some time off to refresh, to heal, to re-group? Physical trainers tell us to take some time off. It is good for us. Think of becoming forgivingly fit in the same way. Hard work is good, but we need some time off to refresh and re-group so that we come back to that work with renewed enthusiasm.
Is it harder to forgive if a person is filled with anger compared with another person who is filled with pain and sorrow after being treated unfairly?
It seems to me that if the anger is very intense and includes resentment or even hatred, then, yes, it is harder to forgive. Some people who are fuming with anger cannot even use the word “forgiveness” because it intensifies the anger. At the same time, if a person has deep sorrow, sometimes there is an accompanying lack of energy and the person needs some time to mourn first. At such times, the person needs to be gentle with the self as emotional healing takes place.
This will depend on how recently you were hurt, how deeply you were hurt, who hurt you, and your experience with the forgiveness process. Our research shows that if you can work on forgiving for about 12 weeks for serious offenses against you, then relief from excessive anger and anxiety can begin to occur. As a perspective on time, Dr. Suzanne Freedman and I did a study of incest survivors and it took about 14 months for the women to experience emotional relief. Although this may seem like a long time, please keep in mind that some of the women were struggling with anxiety and depression for years before they started to forgive.