“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.“ ~ Mark Twain
“Forgive, Investigate and Invite.” Forgive yourself for the time gone by, it’s the past, Investigate what brought you off track so you can learn from it and Invite yourself to begin again. -- Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., in Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion (Atria Books, 2015)
The Process of Forgiveness
|Acknowledging the Truth||versus||Denial, delusion|
|Feeling the feelings||versus||Repression|
|Releasing the energy used to contain/deny||versus||Rigid holding on|
|Letting go of the fantasy of what might have been||versus||Being re-victimized by people/places/things|
|Grieving the loss||versus||Being controlled|
|Integrating the experience||versus||Woundedness|
Forgiveness = Full memory without recycling the hurt, anger, shame, blame, denial, etc.
Foregiveness does not condone or forget, but it does release the actors(s).
To Forgive ..
Is to release someone from the obligation of who you want them to be and accept who they are -
Thoughts from Forgive for Good by Fred Luskin, Ph.D (2002)
What Forgiveness is NOT:
Forgiveness is not condoning unkindness.
Forgiveness is not forgetting that something painful happened.
Forgiveness is not excusing poor behavior.
Forgiveness does not have to be dramatic spiritual epiphany, with angels and a feeling of profound transcendence.
Forgiveness is not denying or minimizing your hurt.
Forgiveness does not mean reconciling with the offender.
Forgiveness does not mean you give up having feelings.
What Forgiveness IS:
Forgiveness is the peace you learn to feel when you stop renting out too much psace in your mind to a grievance story.
Forgiveness is for you and not the offender.
Forgiveness is taking back your power, not giving it up.
Forgiveness is about your healing and not about the people who hurt you.
Forgiveness is a trainable skill just like learning to throw a baseball.
Forgiveness helps you get control over your feelings
Forgiveness is becoming a resilient hero instead of a permanent victim.
Forgiveness is a choice.
STAGES OF FORGIVENESS
Stage 1: Truth Time
- Recognize wrongs done to us. Speak our truth. Tell story.
- Forgiving is not forgetting ... denial sets us up for this.
- Unraveling process of seeing and remembering painful experiences.
Stage 2: Feelings Time
- We have a right to have feelings about the wrongs.
- Repressed feelings = acting out.
- FEELING = HEALING -- can't heal what we can't feel
Stage 3: Reality Time
- Accept reality of the situation -- nothing changes until we do
- Let go of euphoric recall - fantasy
- Truth sets us free -- denied feelings take their toll
Stage 4: Sharing Time
- Sharing feelings. Act of self love when we share self.
- Reduces shame, eliminates isolation, heals.
- Allows us to grow spiritually -- be connected.
Stage 5: Decision Time -- being self responsible
- Requires a decision: what to do with relationship
- No more being a victim -- enough personal restoration
- Period of detachment
- Clarity on boundaries --
- Meet resistance because involves change in family system.
- Experience guilt as a response to unhealthy loyalty to family.
- Ask for help!!
Stage 6: Serenity Time
- Sense of serenity/acceptance.
- No longer need to repress or deny feelings - choices
- No longer need to medicate
For a deeper understanding of forgiveness see this link: