Tagged: “Helpful Forgiveness Hints”
How can forgiveness fit into contemporary society, such as schooling?
Parents can use teachable moments when watching films or reading stories. We have forgiveness education in schools in over 30 countries. Books on forgiveness, magazine articles, newspaper articles on forgiveness can engender a curiosity about what forgiveness is and is not. A key issue is to begin conversations deliberately focused on the moral virtue of forgiveness. I have observed that such deliberate conversations are rare. It is my hope that they become more common in families, schools, workplaces, and other areas of communities.
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.
If I forgive to feel better, am I being selfish?
There is a difference between what forgiveness is (it is being good to those who are not good to you) and your motivation to forgive. There is nothing wrong with being good to another person so that you can emotionally heal. Here is a link to one of my essays at the Psychology Today website that gives you more information on this: 9 Purposes for Your Life When You Forgive.
I was hurt in a 5-year relationship and now I am hesitant to get into any other relationship. Does this lack of courage on my part suggest that I have not forgiven the one who hurt me?
The issue here seems to be one of a lack of trust. You may or may not have forgiven the one with whom you were in a relationship for the 5 years. Even if you have completely forgiven, you still may lack trust and this is not a sign of unforgiveness. It is a sign that you know hurt is possible when you commit to others. Forgiveness can help with taking the risk and at the same time your using common sense in the new relationship, along with sincere acts of trustworthiness by the other, should help to slowly create a trust with the new person.
Learn more at Forgiveness for Couples.
Take the Long Perspective When It Is Difficult to Forgive
Think about one time in your childhood when you had what seemed to be a serious disagreement with a friend. At the time, did it seem like this breach would last forever? Did it? How long did it take to either reconcile or to find a new friend? Time has a way of changing our circumstances. This is not to advocate a kind of passive approach to life here—such as, “Oh, I’ll just wait it out and not bother to exert any effort.” That is not the point. The point is to take a long perspective so that you can see beyond the next hill to a place that is more settled and the pain is not so great. You already saw in your childhood that conflicts end. And the consequences of those conflicts (feeling sad or angry) also end. Why should that same process of change not also apply now? Try to see your circumstance, as realistically as you can, one month from now. Try to see your circumstance six months from now. Try to see yourself two years from now. Will you be the same person? Will you respond to injustices in the exact same way as you did three months ago? Probably not. You will likely be able to meet challenges with greater strength and wisdom as you continue on the forgiveness journey.
Enright, Robert. 8 Keys to Forgiveness (8 Keys to Mental Health) . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.