Misconceptions about Forgiveness (Part 2)
I hope you enjoyed Part 1, but if you didn’t get a chance to check it out, there’s still time. First, I’d like to reinforce that you have the right to feel how you want to feel and forgiveness is a process that can only happen on your terms, it shouldn’t ever feel forced. This set of articles on misperceptions is primarily for those on the fence about if they should forgive and why, but can also be helpful to strengthen the resolve of those working on their issues already. My only hope is that I help empower you to make the best decision for you if it’s in your best interest.
If you are already in the process of trying to forgive and you’re feeling burnout, that’s also natural. Don’t hesitate to take a step back and go enjoy life for a while before coming back to it. It’s hard work to forgive because you’ll be processing a lot of things, some of which will be new perspectives and others might be things you haven’t thought about in years.
- You’ve tried to forgive, but you just find that you don’t have the ability: It’s completely natural and you just may not be ready. It’s ok to need more time and reflection, like by doing the risk analysis below. It’s also common to sometimes regret forgiving someone, but it’s just a temporary reaction.
2. You have too much anger or feel too hurt: You can still set limits and boundaries without anger, which come from strength and peace, not anger and resentment. Being able to set boundaries is something that protects us, but when we react based on emotion or anger, that’s only meant to protect us in the moment. Anger and resentment create stress, which blocks logical thinking and problem solving, which, again, only protects you in the moment. Typically, if you have too much anger, it’s only a surface emotion and you need to find the source.
If you want to effectively forgive, it needs to be worked on while in a state of peace. What do you do that brings you peace? Find that something and do the work after. Maybe it’s spending time with a best friend, nature, a hobby…etc. If you’re an introvert, you might want to take a listen to Susan Cain. What’s in your suitcase (not about travel)?
3. You don’t believe someone deserves forgiveness: You may be right and they might not, but it’s not for them. This also comes down to empathy because their issues might have resulted in the harm done to you, but it doesn’t mean you’re condoning their actions. Can you at least try to see from someone else’s perspective, even if you disagree with it? We all just do what we feel protects us at that moment, flawed as it may be.
Think about the neutral mindset: “Your attitude is everything and determines how you experience every aspect of your life. You cannot always control what happens to you in the world, but you do determine how you react to it many times a day by your attitude.” — Jampolsky and Cirincione
If you think in terms of daily life or business, many good deals have been rejected because one party didn’t feel that the terms were fair, regardless that it would’ve helped everyone involved. Is holding this upset fair for you? Determine for yourself…
1. What are you getting out of your anger or grudge? What are the positives and negatives?
2. How does this affect the people closest to you by holding onto things?
3. How happy are you? Can you rate your happiness and peace of a scale of 1–10 and explain why you gave that rating?
4. Would forgiving any situations increase your level of peace and happiness? Would you being more peaceful and happy increase the peacefulness and happiness of those around you?