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Forgiveness

Hand writing a forgiveness list on a wooden table

Process of Forgiveness:

Forgiveness is a topic that can be overlooked and not spoken of enough. Forgiveness should be a meaningful journey to go on and learn more about. At some point during every human’s life, you will cross that journey and path. A question that is asked a lot is “why should i forgive?” Many answers point to the anger that only hurts the host or that forgiveness frees us but it is important to remember that forgiveness is a process and it takes time. The process of forgiveness should be for you and allowing yourself to let go of the things that are stopping you from moving on.  It tends to be easier to be angry with someone else but behind anger is pain and rejection. In the process of forgiveness, you will realize that you cannot do anything about that person you are angry with but you can move on with your life and let go of the situation. 

The Impact of Unforgiveness:

The negative impact of holding onto anger and resentment, noting that it can affect one’s physical health, mental well-being, and relationships. Forgiveness is not about condoning the actions of the wrongdoer, but about releasing oneself from the burden of anger and pain. According to Dr. Jaye Peabody-Smith, there are two different types of forgivenesses, emotional forgiveness and decisional forgiveness. Emotional forgiveness is being able to release anger and the resentment, you can sometimes think to yourself “well if i forgive them then i’m just letting them off the hook” and that is not the case. It is letting ourselves off of the hook from all of the pain. Decisional forgiveness is the behavioral intention that someone may seek in order to reduce one’s negative behavior and then gain a positive behavior toward the person you are holding a grudge against. There are some consequences of not forgiving, we tend to convince ourselves that it does not bother or phase us but we will show that it does bother us through certain scenarios such as having an inability to trust. Although forgiving someone does not release from the consequences, it can be shown as an act of love for yourself and for your relationship with God. 

Self-Forgiveness and The Role of Shame:

A significant part of this process revolves around self-forgiveness. The difficulty in forgiving others often stems from an inability to forgive oneself. Shame can prevent people from forgiving themselves and others. There is always something that we have not forgiven ourselves for and that makes it more difficult to forgive someone else even though God has already forgiven us. Shame can create a destructive barrier to self-love and can be corrosive. It may seem to be easier for some humans to forgive something and for another it may be more difficult, this all stems from your shame. Shame is connected to our own brokenness or our triggers. These triggers can cause issues with trust issues in the future, one day you will feel like you are in the right headspace to forgive and the next day you are not but that is the process of forgiveness. 

Coping with Ongoing Relationships:

The main challenge of forgiving someone you still have to interact with regularly, such as in familial or marital relationships, is that you are right in front of your trigger every day. Rebuilding trust requires effort from both parties, when that is not the case , you just have to tell yourself that this person is not your problem but it is what they are triggering in you. Forgiveness does not mean allowing oneself to continue being hurt; sometimes, it is necessary to distance oneself from harmful relationships. 

Additional Reading: 

  • Book discussing forgiveness: Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again by Lysa Terkeurst
  • The Forgiveness Journal:  A Guided Journey to Forgiving What You Can’t Forget. Written by Lysa Terkeurst

Disclaimer

The information contained in blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views of the Solace Counseling and Consulting LLC. This blog is the opinion of an individual and is not to be construed as professional advice, psychological diagnosis or a professional relationship between the reader and the writer. Blogs are intended only to be used by consumers in search of general interest information pertaining to mental health, relationships, counseling and related topics. Content on this website is not intended to replace or serve as substitute for professional consultation or service. If you require help with mental health issues please contact a licensed therapist or psychiatrist in your area. If you are experiencing an emergency, head to your nearest emergency room or call 911. The posts on this website are copyright of Solace Counseling and Consulting LLC and their writers (unless otherwise sourced). They can be re-blogged or re-posted on social media but cannot be reproduced or uploaded without permission.

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