Tagged: “Perseverance”

Speed and Forgiveness

I will try to be brief.

Speed.  You can see it in the driving as the very rare few people actually adhere to the posted speed limit these days.

Speed.  You can see it as you watch people walking on the street, phone in hand, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.  I wonder how long the average person stays on one topic within that phone.

Speed.  Have you noticed the new trend on Facebook?: reels.  These are, what?, maybe 10 seconds each?  10 seconds to view a video…….

Speed.  Have you seen those commercials on the Internet, promising you weight loss at night as you sleep if you take a certain kind of pill?  At night?  With no exercise?  And immediate results?

Speed.  I have seen such statements as, “Forgive in 6 easy steps.”

Speed.  It is in contradiction to what it means to grow as a person.  To grow as a person is to slowly improve in the virtues, first identified by Plato as justice, or giving your best with your gifted qualities so that the community is better off and in harmony with others.  This takes time to develop your gifted qualities.  Forgiveness, as a moral virtue, is crafted with three things: practice, practice, practice.  It takes effort and time and struggle to be good to those who are not good to you.  It even takes time to deeply understand what forgiveness is and what it is not so that you do not confuse it with excusing wrongdoing or automatically reconciling or throwing justice under the bus.  There is no such thing as the forgiveness pill that will reduce resentment as you sleep.

Speed and forgiveness.  I have come to realize that they are not compatible and so I am concerned about the new norms of speed, shifting focus quickly, and a lack of required attention.  The new norms may be getting in the way of our forgiving well and therefore of living well with others.

I say in my classes at the university: Whenever you try to improve something, you always create a new problem.  Do not see only the improvement but also scrutinize the new problem to see if the new improvement is worth embracing.  We have quickened our world as we get to destinations faster by car,  as we see what presents our friend in a distant land got in the birthday party today, as we are entertained with a 10-second video……..but what is the problem created?  We are in danger of becoming way too superficial, way too unfocused, way too unchallenged, and miss perseverance, miss growing in the moral virtue of forgiveness, and miss the golden opportunity of growing in our humanity and in assisting others in such growth.

Speed has its place.  It just should not have primacy of place.

 

 

Please follow and like us:

Perseverance versus Novelty in Establishing Forgiveness Programs

What is one of the biggest impediments to forgiveness interventions in schools, homes, and organizations?

Having implemented research-based and service programs of forgiveness since about 1990, I can say that one of the most significant challenges is the quest for novelty, for that new, cutting edge activity that fills people with a short-term rush of enthusiasm.  When novelty becomes an end in and of itself, it is then that it becomes an impediment to the slow and steady build up of the moral virtue of forgiveness in hearts, homes, and communities.  This is the case because the newly popular can extinguish that which has been there for years.

The philosopher Blaise Pascal emphasized that one of the major distractions to growing as persons is what he called diversion.  In his book, Pensees, Pascal spends a lot of time discussing this issue of diversion, or being so busy with whatever is preoccupying the person at present that there is no time to contemplate what is important in life.

Consider this quotation from  #171 in the Pensees: “The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and yet this is the greatest of our miseries.  For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a more solid means of escaping from it.  But diversion amuses us, and leads us unconsciously to death.”

So, even if a family or an organization or even a community discovers the beauty of forgiveness and implements it, then the challenge is this: How do we keep forgiveness present to us instead of latching on to the newest fad, the newest game, the newest social cause that will fade when the next newest-whatever emerges in about a year or two?

This idea of persevering in forgiveness is vital according to Aristotle, who reminds us that it takes much time and effort to grow in any of the moral virtues.  We start with questions about what it even means to forgive.  As we work out our misconceptions (it is not excusing or automatically reconciling with someone who is harmful), we then begin to practice forgiveness, applying it to those challenging situations in which we are treated unjustly.  This can occur in schools as well.  Yet, once the new mathematics textbook appears, or the new anti-bullying approach, or the new field trip guidelines, forgiveness as a part of schooling can quietly fade away, as a rowboat does, from the dock, as the moorings are slowing and imperceptibly loosened from the wooden piling.  Forgiveness can slowly drift out to sea without anyone even noticing.

The first step in persevering with forgiveness once it is planted in a group is to realize that it could very easily fade away.  This kind of consciousness must not be lost.  As a second strategy, we all need to take a lesson from Pascal and know that diversion is not necessarily our friend, especially when it comes to growing courageously in the moral virtues and then persevering in practicing them.

Long live forgiveness, even in the face of the temptation of adding more and more diversion into our lives.

Robert

Please follow and like us:

How important is it for me to follow exactly your 20 steps in your Process Model of Forgiveness?

This process model was not constructed to be a rigid model in which you have to follow the sequence in the exact order.  Some of the units will be irrelevant for you and so you can skip them.  Sometimes, as you are near the end of the forgiveness process, your anger re-emerges.  At that point it may be best to cycle back to the earlier units to once again examine and confront your anger.

Please follow and like us:

I can sympathize with my brother who hurt me, but I don’t seem able to have empathy for him (stepping inside his shoes, as the saying goes, and feeling what it is like inside of him.) Will I ever have compassion for him without empathy?

Not being able to empathize with your brother today does not mean you will never be able to do this.  Empathy can open the door to compassion.  Sympathy, or feeling sorry for him, also may be such a door to the eventual development of compassion.  Yet, as you are seeing, empathy is the deeper, more challenging perspective.  Here are some questions that might help you with empathy toward your brother:  Was your brother hurt by others some time in the past?  How deeply was he hurt?  Is he still carrying those wounds?  Can you see your brother’s struggles in life?  Your answers may induce a greater empathy for him as you see his wounds from his perspective.

Please follow and like us:

I am not so sure that I have forgiven.  Here is my situation: Whenever I see this person, I feel pain.  I do wish him well, but the pain remains.  What do you think?

There is a difference between pain and unhealthy anger in which you hope that the other suffers.  You say that you wish him well and this is an important part of the forgiveness process.  Please keep in mind that within psychology we have a term called classical conditioning. In classical conditioning, over time we learn to associate certain people or situations with certain emotions.  A mother upon holding her baby feels love.  Classical conditioning links the sight or thought of the baby with love.  In your case, you have linked the person with pain.  You are classically conditioned to this link.  As you try to associate this person who hurt you with wishing him well, a new link will forge—–seeing him and wishing him well.  Be gentle with yourself on this.  Classical conditioning links (such as pain and seeing the one who caused the pain) take time to dissolve.

Please follow and like us: