I am ambivalent about “giving a gift” to the one who offended me. I do not think he will accept it. This likely will make me angry all over again. What do you suggest?
A complete sense of forgiving, or the essence of what forgiving is, includes this giving of a gift to the one who hurt you. Yet, you do not have to reach the deepest sense of forgiving to be practicing this moral virtue. If you are not ready to give a gift and if you have reduced your resentment and commit to do no harm to the one who hurt you, then you are forgiving at this point.
I sometimes lose my temper with my partner. Lately when I ask for forgiveness, he is unwilling to grant it. I have been patient, giving him time to forgive, and then I ask again with no effect. This leaves me with both shame and guilt. What do you recommend to me so that I can be freed from the shame and guilt?
Have you been working on your temper so that it does not get in the way of the relationship? Seeking forgiveness and changing behavior go together. If you are changing that behavior and because you have asked for forgiveness and have been patient, I think you can go in peace knowing that you have done your best for now. Give your partner time for him to work through his own forgiving.
A 54-minute podcast called “How to Move Past Resentment with Dr. Robert Enright, Founder of the International Forgiveness Institute” was released today and is now available free of charge on The Growing Through It Podcast network and major podcast channels.
“When someone wrongs, hurts, or violates us, we get angry,” according to podcast host Jen Arnold. “If we hold on to that anger and resentment it can fester, leading to increased stress, negative emotions, poorer mental health, a weakened immune system, and higher blood pressure. In this podcast, Dr. Enright outlines how can you get past the anger so you can get on with your life.”
The interview with Dr. Enright is episode 23 of the podcast series that Arnold has been taping and airing since last year. The series, she says “offers advice, real conversations, and stories of personal setbacks to help you grow from your challenges.”
Don’t just go through it. Grow through it.
Dr. Enright opens the podcast interview by defining what forgives is and what it’s not (since forgiveness, he says, is so often misunderstood). He goes on to explain what happens when people hold on to resentment before walking listeners through his process for forgiving others and forgiving one’s self as well as how to ask for forgiveness.
Jen Arnold is the founder and CEO of Redesigning Wellness, Inc., a company that offers resilience training to individuals and employee groups. She defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.” Forgiveness, she adds, is an important component of that adaptation process.
- Listen to the entire podcast interview with Dr. Enright.
- View all The Growing Through It Podcast episodes.
- Visit the Redesigning Wellness website.
I am a parent with a child who is angry. This started when my husband divorced me. I say my child is angry because of rather quick temper tantrums. Yet, when I talk with him about his anger, he is in denial, telling me that he has no anger. What advice do you have for me to begin helping him to see that, indeed, he is angry, actually quite angry?
First, I think you need patience with your child. He is deeply hurt because of the divorce. I say that because you say his temper tantrums began in the context of the divorce. Rather than discussing his anger, I recommend that you gently talk with him about his wounded heart. Give him time to see that he is deeply hurt by his father leaving. Once he can see this, then talking about forgiveness is a next step. Once your child has the safety-net of forgiveness (that can lessen hurt and anger), he then likely will be open to seeing that he is angry and that there is a solution to it–forgiveness.
The intent of forgiving is not to reduce in one’s mind the probability that bad things will not happen in the future. Instead, forgiveness offers this safeguard: No matter what happens that is unfair to me, forgiveness will help me to reduce resentment, not be overcome by anger, and to move forward with the confidence that I can overcome emotional distress if others treat me unfairly.