I have a question about what I am calling “angry crying,” or crying every time I am mad at someone. Is “angry crying” something good or to be avoided?
“Angry crying” can be a catharsis and this release of the negative feelings is good, at least to a point. A key issue to consider is the intensity, duration (at any given time), and how long over time you cry. In other words, when you look at your pattern, is it very intense and long lasting? If so, then the cathartic benefits are not necessarily leading to a cure of the anger. Forgiveness has as one of its goals the cure of deep resentment so that it goes away or is reduced to very manageable levels. So, “angry crying” is not necessarily good or bad in and of itself. If it is intense and the release is only temporary, then you need more, such as forgiving those who are making you cry.
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.
Can I be perfectly fine without forgiving a person who acted unjustly against me? In other words, can the anger just vanish?
In the past, I used to engage in what the expression is called “killing them with kindness.” It actually has been my mode of revenge, as I harbored deep anger while faking kindness. Is it possible to transition from fake kindness to the real thing?
Yes, it definitely is possible to change from a fake kindness to genuine kindness. We have thinking exercises in which we ask the one who is forgiving to see the struggles in the one who acted unfairly. Oftentimes, a person who is cruel to others has a history of being abused. Such an insight within the one who forgives (toward the one who was unfair) is not fostered to excuse the unjust behavior, but instead to see a genuine person, a hurting person, who is engaging in the injustice. As you begin to see a genuine person, one who has wounds and may be confused and frustrated, then a genuine sense of kindness toward that person can emerge. It takes time and so please be gently with yourself as you examine the true personhood of the other.
If someone forgives 18 times, is this person now capable of being a better forgiver than someone who only forgave once?
The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, tells us that practice is a key to growing in any moral virtue, whether it is justice or patience or forgiveness. In my experience, he is correct. So, in all likelihood, the one who has forgiven many people or the same person many times may be a stronger forgiver than the person who is just beginning the first journey of forgiving. By “stronger” I mean that this person may be able to forgive more quickly and with better results (feeling better inside and maybe a better relationship with the one who acted unjustly) than the one who is new to the moral virtue of forgiveness.