Tagged: “hurtful event”

How do I “acknowledge the other person’s humanity” when this person acts more like an animal than a person.  Sorry for such a negative statement, but this is how this person behaves.

Please keep in mind the distinction between what Aristotle described as each person’s “potentiality” compared with the person’s “actuality” in behaving in accord with the moral virtues.  The one you described as acting “like an animal” is not actualizing the potential for high level human behavior.  Yet, this person still has the “potentiality” to achieve this, with proper virtues education and encouragement by wise people.  As you see this potential, you are acknowledging the humanity in the other person.

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The one I need to forgive is deceased.  What good is it to forgive someone who has died?

While the other cannot benefit in any direct, physical way from your forgiveness, there are two areas of benefit for your consideration: 1) You may be able to create a positive (and truthful) view of that person, preserving a more dignified reputation for this person than might have been the case if you speak negatively about the person to others; and 2) you, yourself, as the forgiver, may find that your resentment melts and so you feel better upon forgiving.

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I am angry at my partner, but the anger is not deep.  I am more annoyed than really bothered.  If I had to put a number on my anger from 1 to 10, I would give it a 3.  Do you think I need to forgive, given that my anger is not intense?

There are different reasons to forgive.  You could forgive for your own emotional well-being.  You could forgive, on a higher moral level, for the good of the other and the good of the relationship.  It does not appear that you need to forgive for your own emotional well-being, given how low your anger is.  Therefore, you still can forgive so that the other feels better, so that you communicate better together, and so that your relationship becomes stronger.

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Why is it so much easier to hold onto anger than it is to forgive?

Holding on to anger can be a way of feeling in control when others treat you in such a way that it is all too easy to feel out of control.  Also, the anger can give a person a sense of power, specifically power over others.  Further, anger can become a habit, even if this is unintended.  This habit can be very hard to break.  Forgiveness has been shown scientifically to break this habit of anger.

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I am having difficulty with a former partner.  I have forgiven him (he asked me to forgive and I have).  I cannot go back to that situation because I really cannot trust him.  He keeps telling me that I have not forgiven.  If I genuinely have forgiven, he insists, then I would take him back.  How should I respond?

With a gentle and forgiving heart, you can discuss with him the difference between what forgiveness is (a moral virtue in which you are good to those who have been unfair to you) and reconciliation (which is not a moral virtue, but instead is a negotiation strategy in which two or more people come together again in mutual trust).  Again, with gentleness, you can point out that your trust has been deeply hurt by his actions and so you can offer forgiveness, but not reconciliation.  If he does not accept this or says anything hurtful to you about this, then this is another situation in which you can forgive.

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The Missing Piece to the Peace Puzzle

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