What is forgiveness?

The danger in talking with interesting people is that sometimes they make you think. I recently came away from a discussion with a good friend thinking to myself sincerely about the nature of forgiveness. It turns out that forgiveness is one of those words I feel more than know. I have felt forgiven. I have felt the relief of truly forgiving. But to articulate what forgiveness means sincerely escapes me. When I asked myself to define what forgiveness meant, I couldn’t do it.

So when in doubt, ask the Twitterverse. 🙂 Here are some of the best responses so far.

@snowsflake In order to forgive we must realize that we’re mad at the act and not the person, it doesn’t really matter who did it.

@trnunes Forgiveness=valuing a relationship above one’s own ego.

@weddingchaplain Forgiveness is given and received. I feel grateful for the forgiveness I have received and generously give it.

@jasonwilks Forgiveness is no longer holding offense against another, however, forgiveness does not = trust. It is free, trust is earned.

@o0omunkieo0o I wrote a blog on this. http://munkiebabble.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/forgiven-not-forgotten/ – Forgiven, not forgotten.

@ReaFaceToFace Forgiveness: The ability to forget the ‘even though’ part that might come after ‘I love you’ – even though. Not that I’m a pro, but that sounded good 🙂

@PowderRoomTalk Forgiveness is setting anger free

@Kardboard Forgiveness is complete pardon and complete awareness of a transgression, hurt or wrong. (methinks)
depends on the a lot of factors…

@StripeeSocks Accepting other peoples faults/failure as a person/behaviours I guess.

@WritewhereUr Forgiveness is examining someone’s transgression & making a decision to heal the wound & move foward in a healthy way

@raveninnyc Letting go of your resentment.

Is forgiveness ever the wrong approach? When do we cross the line to codependency and enabling? Is forgiveness a concept independent of the perpetrator?

Like I say, I feel this word deep in my bones, but can’t express it. I’d love to hear your comments. What is forgiveness?

This entry was posted in Questions and tagged by Dr. Rebecca Jorgensen. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dr. Rebecca Jorgensen

Becca works with couples to save and strength their relationship. She trains psychologists to do couple therapy internationally. She is a: Professional psychologist. PhD. in Clinical Psychology. Licensed Mental Health Counselor Research Faculty at Alliant International University. Director of the Training and Research Institute for Emotionally Focused Therapy. Certified Emotionally Focused Therapy Supervisor and Trainer.

1 thought on “What is forgiveness?

  1. “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
    Mark Twain

    It is often deemed to be a noble trait to forgive someone for their wrongdoing; although the concept of forgiveness is always easier said than done.

    When we are angry, it is difficult to determine why we should forgive someone, let alone how we should go about it.

    What is anger?
    Anger is a normal, healthy response to a threatening situation that becomes problematic when that situation is not resolved. Anger is a signal that you have an issue that requires a resolution and should not be a permanent state of mind.

    “Being angry at someone is like you are drinking poison and hoping the other person will die”

    To remain in a permanent state of anger, serves no purpose and if you’re not sure about this, I encourage you to make a list of all the positive things you get out of being angry.

    Why is forgiveness important?
    Forgiveness does not condone the action that caused the anger. It is 100% about you and your well-being. It is about taking control of and responsibility for your emotions. The way you feel about and react to any person or situation is absolutely your responsibility.

    Through time, we gain perspective and we develop the ability to recognize that we are all the product of our experiences and our environments and we all make choices based on what we know and understand in that moment.

    Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation nor does it require the participation of the other party. The person you are forgiving may never apologize or acknowledge their role in your hurt and it is vital that this does not deter you from the process, always remembering that the process of forgiveness is about you and no one else.

    To forgive is to make a personal commitment to change. To change your attitude, your emotions and your behaviour. Forgiving is an active redemption of power. It allows us to take control of and be responsible for, our emotions and our responses. We may not always choose the cards we are dealt, but we can always choose how we feel about them.

    How do I forgive?
    Whilst many people understand the benefits of forgiveness, few know how to go about it. The process of forgiveness is one that requires action and commitment.

    Step One: Reflect
    Reflect on your current state and the facts of the situation. Make a list of the various ways that your anger is having an impact on your daily life. Ask yourself what you are getting out of holding onto your anger.

    Step Two: Recognize
    Recognize the value of forgiveness. Consider the positive affect disengaging yourself from the person or situation will have. What will be more positive about your life when you let it go?

    Step Three: Take Action
    Whether you choose to find a way to forgive on your own or you decide to seek the assistance of a professional, it is important that you see forgiveness as an action rather than just a word or a feeling. As a Hypnotherapist, I assist people with forgiveness on a regular basis. Hypnotherapy allows you to explore your emotions in a safe environment with a person whose only goal is your well-being.

    You will learn how to go into a state of ultimate calmness and you will receive all the positive suggestion that you require to understand that you can and will move forward, changing your life in an extremely positive way.

    Hypnotherapy allows you to relive moments in time in a protected and positive environment, so that you can work through and resolve previous experiences with fresh perspective and a deeper understanding. Through Hypnotherapy you will achieve resolution, peace and satisfaction.

    Step Four: Change
    Having come to terms with the situation and been through the process of forgiveness, it is now time to make a conscious decision and commitment to actively changing your behaviour. It is now time to develop a behaviour plan. List all the concrete negative behaviors you have developed and commit to changing them immediately. Pay attention to and give gratitude for the positive experiences you are now noticing.

    I encourage everyone to develop a forgiveness philosophy and consider how the process of forgiveness will benefit them. Consider what you are getting out of continuing to attach yourself to this person or these moments in time and the positive affect moving forward will have on your life and the lives of those around you.

    Have you forgiven someone? How has it affected your life so far?

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