What Is Forgiveness? for Rosh Hashanah

Yesterday I wrote about Forgiveness – what it is and what it isn’t. I also tried to create a definition that didn’t make you want to gag. The post received a lot of attention. This doesn’t surprise me – I suspect that many of us are ofte

n on one side or the other of forgiveness. Here are some further ideas that I hope you find helpful (more tomorrow). These are taken from psychologist/forgiveness researcher Fred Luskin’s book, Forgive for Good. Last year, I used his ideas when I tried to facilitate a discussion group about this topic. The group was packed with interested folks and the conversation was great, but the topic was so hot that it felt like a goat rodeo when I tried to focus the discussion on any particular idea.

But, like any good

teacher, I had prepped and here are some of the things I learned.

Basic Principles of Forgiveness:

Forgiveness provides you peace from laying down grievances

Chicago Botanic Gardens

Forgiveness is for you and not the offender

Forgiveness is about taking back your power

Forgiveness is about taking responsibility for how you feel

Forgiveness is about your healing

Forgiveness can be learned

Forgiveness has an extra bonus – you feel more control over our emotions

Forgiveness improves your mental and physical health

Forgiveness allows you to become the hero rather than the victim

Forgiveness can be a choice. It is one choice, people don’t have to forgive but you may get peace of mind.

If you need to forgive, that means that you have been hurt. Here’s the back story to forgiveness……….

Grudges develop through a series of steps.

We get to an unforgiving place because of 3 components:

1. We take strong personal offence to an act committed against us.

Something bad happens. This bad event can’t be changed. Your expectations, beliefs, or values have been broken. You cannot do anything to change that fact à You want to control the situation and make it go your way but you cannot.

2. We blame the offender for how we feel.

3. We create a grievance story and nurture the grievance by carefully tending it. We tell and retell the story.

We unknowingly blame the person, not for their behavior, but for how bad we felt and continue to feel. In this way, the person who we want to quiet or out of our lives, grows in power and importance.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow, for the grand finale, I have Dr. Luskin’s ideas for getting yourself into a more peaceful place.

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