Tagged: “The Forgiving Life”

Although I value and try to forgive and mean well to those who harm me, I feel like that alone does not fix my wrecked inner world (lost trust, cynicism, depression). I can try my best to mean well, but that does not mean anyone else will. Does this mean I need more than forgiveness to heal?

You show insight in saying that forgiveness alone will not heal all of the lost trust, cynicism, and even psychological depression. This is the case because forgiveness does not necessarily alter the quality of your relationships.  Forgiveness makes possible a change in relationships because you are offering the hand of peace, offering a second chance to those who acted unfairly.  Yet, some people will continue to act badly toward us.  So, we may have an unsatisfying relationship that damages trust toward that person or increases cynicism toward that person. This is a problem of a failure to reconcile and if this is the case for you, then you might ask the person to correct the unfairness.  The person may not comply.  In such a case, please note that in your forgiving, you have done the best that you can.  Also, please keep in mind that you now, in forgiving, have a way of reducing excessive anger toward particular people which can be a protection in future relationships.  In other words, you need not generalize the mistrust to all people.  Some may accept your kindness and even if they do not, you can be free of toxic anger even if disappointment or sadness or even cynicism toward a particular person remains. 
Please follow and like us:

What does love have to do with it?  Do you really think that to forgive, we have to love the one who was brutal to us?

We have to make a very important distinction between what Aristotle calls the Essence of any construct and its Existence.  The Essence defines its purest form.  Existence is how we actually deal with this construct in the real world.  The highest or purest form of forgiving is to love those who do not love you.  This is its Essence, for which we have a possible goal.  In reality, in Existence, this is not always possible for us.  The legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers football team, Vince Lombardi, once said, “…..if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”  So, we should be aware of the Essence of forgiveness so that, even if unattainable in some cases, we can reach a higher sense of forgiveness, an excellence of forgiving such as genuine respect toward the other, that might not have been possible otherwise.
Please follow and like us:

What is one major difference between forgiving other people and forgiving yourself?

When we forgive ourselves, we have broken our own standards.  When this happens, it usually does not occur in isolation.  In other words, we so often hurt other people when we break our own standards.  Therefore, as we self-forgive, in contrast to forgiving others, we often need to go to those offended by what we did and seek forgiveness from them.
Please follow and like us:

Does Forgiveness Work? Let’s Ask the Experts. . .

The benefits of forgiveness have been discussed and debated for centuries but scientific evidence that forgiveness actually “works” has been scant. All that has changed during the past few decades as legions of psychologists and clinicians have begun studying the ancient virtue from a stringently documented, peer-reviewed empirical perspective.

Dr. Robert Enright, an educational psychologist labeled the “forgiveness trailblazer” by Time magazine (and co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute), published the first scientific study on person-to-person forgiveness in 1989. In the 15 years following the publication of that article in the Journal of Adolescence, the number of published forgiveness articles had jumped to more than 1,100. And today, researchers can pore through more than 3,000 published articles brandishing empirical evidence on the virtue of forgiveness.

Here is a quick look at several recent research reports related to the benefits of forgiveness:

Forgiveness Reduces Suicidal Behavior

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults and about 1,100 college students die by suicide each year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). According to a study of 158 college students, all suffering from mild to severe depression, psychologists at East Tennessee State University found that:

“Students who are more capable of forgiving themselves and others after stressful life events or interpersonal problems have lower rates of suicidal behavior than their peers who are less able to forgive. This study points out that interventions that boost levels of forgiveness can increase self-esteem, hopefulness, positive emotions toward other people, and perceived self-control while reducing levels of depression, anxiety, and drug use.”

Source: Forgiveness, Depression, and Suicidal Behavior Among a Diverse Sample of College Students.

Forgiveness Education Program Reduces Depression, Anxiety, and Stress

After implementation of Dr. Enright’s Forgiveness Education curriculum for high school students in Turkey, study results demonstrated that:

“Forgiveness Education has led to significant decrease in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Conclusion: Forgiveness Education can be used effectively for adolescents in school settings.” 

Source: Effect of Psychoeducational Forgiveness Program on Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in Adolescents.

Even Brief Enright Forgiveness Education Programs Improve Health

Chinese college students demonstrated positive improvement in emotional health following brief (4 sessions compared to the normal 12 sessions) exposure to Enright Forgiveness Education curriculum classes. According to the study:

“The analysis of the pretest and post-test scores indicated that both the Enright Psycho-social Programme and the Chinese Value-oriented Programme had positive effects on improving participants’ general emotional forgiveness, decreasing their negative emotions toward the offender, and improving life satisfaction.”

Source: Piloting Forgiveness Education: A Comparison of the Impact of Two Brief Forgiveness Education Programmes Among Chinese College Students.

Forgiveness Significantly Predicts Life Satisfaction

Researchers have begun to investigate the relationship between happiness and subjective factors like Forgiveness. A study with 380 students from different departments of Bursa Uludag University in Bursa, Turkey, found that:

“Happiness has been found to be negatively related to stress and positively related to positive emotions, satisfying relationships, self-esteem, forgiveness, self-compassion, and quality of friendships.Results in this study also indicate that forgiveness and life satisfaction are positively related and that forgiveness significantly predicts life satisfaction. For this reason, my results are important for psychological healthcare workers, who can include these variables into their supportive and preventive programs in order to assess important characteristics that contribute to good psychological health.”

Source: Predictive effects of subjective happiness, forgiveness, and rumination on life satisfaction.

Please follow and like us: