Tagged: “Helpful Forgiveness Hints”
How can I keep the light of forgiveness burning in my heart? There are so many distractions in contemporary culture. Forgiveness could be easily forgotten.
A key is this: Know that what you call “the light of forgiveness” is important to you. Know further that it could fade in you if you do not give it the attention it deserves. Aristotle emphasized practice as a way to grow in the virtues. The more you practice forgiveness, the better you become at it. The better you become at it, then the more you develop what Aristotle called a love for the virtue.
In my book, The Forgiving Life, I focus on what I call the strong will. You need this strong will to persevere in the practice of forgiveness, even though all around you are opportunities to ignore forgiveness and seek pleasure to avoid pain. Forgiveness can be painful work, but the pain, in my view, is far less than carrying the pain of deep resentment for many years.
I wish you the best in your persevering journey to develop a love of the virtue of forgiveness.
Learn more at The Forgiving Life.
Those who are in positions of authority at my work are overbearing and angry. I just can’t see how I can survive this even with forgiveness. After all, I go in every day to their anger and more anger. I feel like giving up. Can you help me?
I hear this very frequently from people who are in challenging marriages as well as difficult work situations. My advice is this: It becomes more imperative that you practice forgiveness every day.
Start the forgiveness process as you make your way into work. Be ready to talk from a position of care and civility as you bear the pain of their anger. As you go home after work, spend some time in forgiving. I know it is hard work, but you now have this challenge and one way to overcome your own anger and frustration is to forgive. Even if you were to leave the company for a new career, your inner world still likely will be disrupted. Forgiveness then can help you even if you are gone from your current position. Also, your consistent practice of forgiving may help you to endure and overcome the frustration as you stay in your current position.
For additional information, see Choose Love, Not Hate.
How do you know that you can skip a step in your Process Model of forgiveness without it affecting the success of that process?
We tend to rely on common sense in this situation. For example, in the Uncovering Phase, one unit in the process is to see if you have been comparing yourself with the offending person, with the false conclusion that you are less of a person than the other. If you do not make such comparisons, then you can skip that step. There are parts of the forgiveness process that seem essential to us such as:
- seeing the other person as more than the hurtful actions against you;
- being aware of a softened heart within you as you progress in forgiveness;
- bear the pain of what happened so that you do not pass that pain back to the offending person or to others.
For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.
I hurt someone and now I feel guilty. What are some pointers you can give me to seek forgiveness for what I did?
As you seek forgiveness you can:
- practice humility, that insight that you are not perfect.
- You certainly are deserving of respect because all people are special, unique, and irreplaceable.
- You can apologize and then
- wait patiently for the other to consider forgiving. Just because you are ready to receive the other’s forgiveness does not mean that the other is on the same timeline.
- Change the behavior that led to the difficulty.
- Then go in peace knowing you are doing your best in this.
For additional information, see: Learning to Forgive Others.
New Study Results: People Who are More Forgiving Sleep Better–and Have Better Health
Researchers from universities in Iowa, Michigan, and Massachusetts have discovered that you will sleep better (and feel better) if you just “let it rest” by learning to forgive.
As part of a national survey, those researchers asked 1,423 American adults to rate themselves on how likely they were to forgive themselves for the things they did wrong and forgive others for hurting them. The participants also answered survey questions about how they had slept in the past 30 days, how they would rate their health at the moment, and how satisfied they were with their life.
The results demonstrated that people who were more forgiving were more likely to sleep better and for longer, and in turn have better physical health. They were also more satisfied with life. This was true of people who were more forgiving of others, and people who were more forgiving of themselves—although forgiving others had a stronger relationship with better sleep.
Forgiveness of self and others “may help individuals leave the past day’s regrets and offenses in the past and offer an important buffer between the events of the waking day and the onset and maintenance of sound sleep,” wrote the researchers, led by professor Loren Toussaint at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Otherwise, as many troubled sleepers have experienced, we might have too much on our minds to get any rest.⊗
The Sleep Study was supported in part by the Fetzer Institute as part of the John Templeton Foundation’s campaign for forgiveness research, by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, and by a Faculty Research Grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan.