Tagged: “Love”

Becoming Forgivingly Fit

Because forgiving others is a moral virtue, we cannot reduce the act of forgiveness to a psychological technique.  For example, we cannot engage one time in “the empty chair technique” and have a deeply hurt forgiver sit in the chair of the one who acted unjustly and then gain full insight into that person’s wounds with a resultant overflowing compassion toward that person.  To clarify, there is nothing wrong with this technique, but we cannot think of it as complete.  As an analogy, if you will take out a gym membership to get into physical shape, your goal is not reached as you go on the treadmill one time or do 20 bicep curls only once.  To become physically fit, you need repetition, for a long time. 

It is the same with becoming forgivingly fit.  Your task is not accomplished by engaging in one set of actions, in one psychological technique.  Growing in any of the moral virtues takes time, perseverance, and a strong will to keep at it.  As Aristotle reminds us, we need three things to grow in the moral virtues: practice, practice, practice.

We can even engage in our forgiveness practice when we do not have a particular person in mind to forgive today.  Here is an example: As we forgive, we struggle to see the inherent worth in others.  So, as we interact with people today, even those with whom we are getting along, we can say to ourselves, “This person probably has a history of being wounded in some way by others in the past.  This person has built-in worth that cannot be taken away.”  As you pass by strangers in a store or on the street, you can say the same about them.  The key here is to train one’s mind to see the inherent worth in others so that you can then apply this learning toward those who hurt you, as you decide to forgive.

Here is another idea for growing in forgiveness fitness: Make a list of as many people as you can remember who have hurt you, from your childhood to now.  List who the person is, what occurred that was unjust, and your degree of hurt on a 1-to-10 scale.  Then order all of these people from the least hurtful (but still a challenge for you now) to the most hurtful.  Start with the one person who hurt you the least and go through the forgiveness process with that person.  When you think you have accomplished forgiving this one person, and it might take weeks, then go to the next person on the list.  Continue until you reach the person who wounded you the most.  You then may be ready to forgive this person because you have engaged in practice, practice, practice in forgiving and so your forgiveness fitness likely has increased.

Becoming forgivingly fit takes time, perseverance, and a strong will.  As in becoming physically fit, you will notice a difference inside of you that includes well-being and even a sense of wholeness.  What do you think: shall we hit the forgiveness gym now?

Robert

Please follow and like us:

Thank you for clarifying that to forgive is a moral response, but it is not a response of dominating the other.  Yet, I have a follow-up question: Might forgiveness actually be morally superior to, say, acrimony or hatred?

Let us make a distinction between the person who forgives and the act of forgiveness itself.  Those people who forgive are not acting in a morally superior way, but are lowering themselves in humility, as I explained before.  Yet, the act of forgiving is far superior in a moral sense than acrimony, getting back at the other, or hating the other.  Why?  It is because forgiving builds up and hatred has the potential of tearing down.  So, the person is not feeling morally superior; the forgiving act itself is considerably morally superior than the option to hate.

Please follow and like us:

My partner keeps saying that I am “morally superior” because I forgive.  He does not mean this in any positive sense.  He is using it as an insult.  How do you recommend that I respond?

I would say something such as this:  “Yes, forgiveness is a moral issue and so, yes, I am showing moral behavior toward you.”  Yet, as the philosopher Joanna North has said in a philosophy journal article, when people forgive, they lower themselves in humility so that each person can meet person-to-person.  So, yes, forgiving is an admirable moral response, but it does not suggest domination of the other at all.

Please follow and like us:

I find it increasingly hard to forgive a person who keeps on being obnoxious. So, what can I do?

A key here is to first forgive from your heart so that you can approach the person without a lot of anger inside of you. Then try to have a civil conversation with the person so that there is opportunity for insight and change. A key here is for the other to change. Your forgiveness can play a part in that, but even if it does not, you will be free from the inner resentment that can compromise you if you forgive.

Please follow and like us:

Forgiveness basically is transcendence, right? As we forgive, we transcend anger.

Well, actually, that is not what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is a moral virtue of offering goodness to another person who is acting unjustly. You can transcend a situation without any thought or action of goodness toward another person. Here is an example: A person transcends the struggle of disappointment as his home is destroyed by a tornado. There is no person here to forgive, yet there is transcendence. The person is going beyond the disappointment and even anger, but without another person being in that process. Forgiving involves reaching out to another person, even when the forgiver is feeling pain that is not transcended or reduced yet.

Please follow and like us:

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR RESEARCH PROJECT

x