“Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.” (Greater Good)
I’ve heard someone say “hurt people hurt people.” When we feel hurt, we get angry and there is an animal instinct to strike back.
Forgiveness requires that we make space between the anger and the reaction. Only in that spaciousness can we become conscious. Forgiveness says “wait a minute. What’s going to heal this situation?” Hurting the other or stewing in my anger will keep me stuck. If I want to move on, I need to let go.
It’s not a one time decision. I let go and then him my mind remembers the wounding. I get angry again and have to make space and let go again. To forgive is a verb. Forgiveness is a process, not an event.
How do we mak that space? Take a few deep breaths. Picture a calm pond or some other calming image. Get or give a long hug. Listen to the sound of a bell. Whatever will allow you to settle.
Part of being a grown-up is to learn what settles you or at least have a toolbox of things to try.
Then we decide and decide and decide. My promise to myself is to forgive with wild abandon. Forgive without wondering if it’s the right move. Forgive the moment I become aware of the wounding.
Forgiveness sets us free.
In your Journal:
- how do you define forgiveness?
- How do you let go of anger?
- What are some ways you make space?
- Write a story about forgiveness.