Tagged: “paradox of forgiving”
The ninth of 15 criticisms I see about forgiveness is this: Forgiving others lowers your self-esteem as you focus more on those who did wrong than on healing yourself.
There is a paradox of forgiving in that as you reach out to the others with forgiveness, offering a second chance as well as kindness and love, it is you, the giver, who heals. Scientific studies have demonstrated the validity of this paradox.
This gift-giving is part of the amazing paradox of forgiving: As you give to the other, it is you who experiences healing. Our science supports this view. As people go through our Process Model of Forgiveness, they tend to reduce in anger, anxiety, and depression and to increase in self-esteem and hope. You can read a description of some of these studies in Enright and Fitzgibbons (2015), Forgiveness Therapy. Washington, DC: APA Books.
There seem to be two questions here: 1) Should I consider giving a gift to someone with whom I choose not to have any further contact; and, 2) How can I give such a gift? Here is my answer to the “should” question: Forgiveness is about giving, even to those with whom you are angry and estranged. This is part of the paradox of forgiving: As you reach out in goodness to those who were not good to you, then you experience psychological healing. Therefore, it is morally appropriate and psychologically prudent to consider giving a gift, if you choose to forgive. The second question, regarding how it is even possible to give a gift to someone whom you will not see again is this: You can contribute to a charity in the person’s name. You can pray for the person if you have a religious belief. You even can say a kind word about the person to someone else.