Tagged: “injustice”

As I forgive, I am finding that my anger comes and goes.  I find this frustrating as I expected a straight line from anger to no anger.  Can you provide some perspective for me?

The philosopher from ancient Greece, Aristotle, reminds us that we are all imperfect when it comes to the expression of any of the moral virtues.  Therefore, please try to be gentle with yourself and to humbly accept that you will not have a perfect straight line from anger to no anger.  You certainly are not alone in this as the vast majority of us can experience a resurgence of anger.  At that point, it is good to go back a few steps in the forgiveness process and begin again to see the inherent worth in the one who hurt you, try to cultivate some empathy, bear the pain of this anger, and when you are ready consider a gift to the other (such as a smile or a kind word about the person to others).

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If I “bear the pain,” how will this allow me to cry?

To “bear the pain” does not mean to resist sadness.  Instead, to “bear the pain” includes accepting the sadness as it comes without running away from it.  To “bear the pain” is not to deny pain and sadness, but instead to courageously experience these.  The wonderful paradox then is this:  As you stand in the pain, allowing yourself to feel it, and deliberately not pass it to the one who hurt you or to others, it is you who begins to heal.  In other words, the pain begins to lift.

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I am wondering why people don’t just simply use the word “kindness” rather than the word “forgiveness.”  When you forgive, aren’t you just being kind to those who were obnoxious?  If so, then shouldn’t we use the word “kindness”?

“Kindness” is not an exact enough word in the context of a person treating you unfairly.  I say that because you can be kind without this issue of injustice entering into the situation.  For example, you can be kind to a three-year-old who offers you her toy.  She did nothing wrong to you.  In the case of forgiveness, yes you can be kind, but you also can be loving and it always, without exception, occurs when someone was unfair to you.  That is the specific difference between kindness and forgiveness.  The latter always is in the context of being treated unfairly whereas kindness can occur when the other has been treating you kindly.

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I hear a popular expression these days that is called “ghosting.”  I am not exactly sure what that means, but I suspect it refers to someone who is just not there for you.  I have such an issue now with a partner, who is quickly acting as if he wants to be my ex-partner.  Can you help me understand this issue of “ghosting”?

Yes, as is the case with a recent question to me about the family as a forgiving community, I have written an essay at the Psychology Today website on the issue of ghosting and forgiveness here:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/node/1114772/preview

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Do I always have to reach out to the one who hurt me? What if this person was tremendously mean to me such that I am re-traumatized when I meet this person? Would it be better then not to interact with this person?

You need not reach out directly to the one who hurt you if you are re-traumatized by meeting this person. You can reach out indirectly by donating some money to a charity in the person’s name or by saying a kind word about the person to others. When you forgive, you need not reconcile with the other if in doing so you are harmed.

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