Will I Ever Be Able to (or want to) Forgive?

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What is Forgiveness Really?

Often forgiveness is one of those concepts that is defined by the absence of feelings:

I no longer want to seek punishment
I am no longer angry at the person
I no longer experience resentment (re-living  the negative emotions associated with the person/event)
I give up all claim to punish the person for the offence

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What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

Forgiveness can be messy, it is a process.  It involves healing of brokenness; it involves words, actions, and emotions.   Forgiveness is rarely an all or nothing affair, and it can be easy to question if you will ever move towards forgiveness.

Because, forgiveness is an internal and personal state, it will look differently for everyone.   It is complex (emotionally, physically, and spiritually).  It takes time to heal internally.  Feelings of bitterness and reactivity may continue to surface; this doesn’t mean there is no forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a process.   It is helpful to have a personal concrete and positive concept of what forgiving will look like.

For example the above concepts of forgiveness state what a person will not be wanting, not feel or no longer experience.      To move forward in forgiveness it helps to consider what I do want to feel and how I will know that I am feeling that way. It helps to know what I will be experiencing, and what I will be looking for.

 

urgent care sketch by ramona taylor

How can I move forward in forgiveness?

Consider:

When, I no longer want to punish what will I want instead?   (Wishing them well, wanting to see them get some help…).

When I am no longer angry at the person what am I feeling instead?   (A sense of sadness, or loss, disappointment, regret, maybe ready to place anger on the situation rather than the offender).

What thoughts and actions will indicate that I am  feeling a desired way (laughing at the person’s jokes, exchanging greetings when passing).

When I am no longer re-experiencing negative feelings (resentments), what will I be experiencing instead (seeing changes, seeing growth, speaking truthfully).

 

Helpful tips for processing forgiveness.

  1. Acknowledge feelings of hurt, anger, or shame and commit to doing something about them.
  2.  Identify and focus on  the offensive behavior (rather than the person) that has caused harm to you.  This could be relational harm, emotional harm, physical harm or spiritual harm.
  3.  Make a conscious decision to let go of seeking revenge, or nursing the grudge.  Move toward forgiving thoughts or language. For example, replace derogatory references to the offender (“the jerk”) with their name.
  4.  Remind yourself that you have a good reason to forgive (to experience healing, to move on, to be a role model, to act out my faith)
  5.  When thinking about the offender, remind yourself that they are human and that their actions say more about their suffering or brokenness than about you.
  6.  Accept the pain you’ve experienced without passing it off to others.  Recognize that you may be unintentionally victimizing yourself or causing those around you to suffer in response to the pain you have experienced.
  7.  Choose to extend goodwill and mercy toward the offender by wishing for their well-being.
  8.  Think about the times when you have been released from a resentment.  Be open to feeling that emotional relief again, and find ways to grow from the experience.
  9.  Realize the paradox of forgiveness: as you let go and allow yourself to forgive offenders, you will experience release and healing.

 

by Ramona Taylor 8/2014

 

 

 

 

 

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Ramona Taylor, M.A. LMFT a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT97652)

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embrace 1Many people are surprised to find that they begin to notice positive changes from the moment they make their appointment. As a Marriage & Family Therapist registered intern, I pull from a wide range of treatment modalities to create a treatment plan that will benefit each individual client. As former teacher I carry with me the desire to teach myself out of a job. So, along with effective individualized treatment, I make it my goal to teach clients to use what they learn in session, where it counts: in their everyday lives.   I see couples, families, children, young adults and teens. I have varied hours of availability, including late afternoons, early mornings at The Inland Integrated Wellness Center. Our office is located in the historic district of Corona about 1 mile South of the 91FWY :
817 West Grand Blvd (map)
at the Inland Integrated Wellness Center.
Please feel free to view the pages of my website or call the office toll free at
(888) 634-6999 ext 16 if you would like more information or would like to start therapy.
Often same day appointments are available so why wait healing can start today!

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