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Old 05-04-2014, 04:47 PM   #1
Justine
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Default Forgive and Forget?

I read this recently and it gave me some food for thought. I thought I would share it.

What is forgiveness?

Researchers who study forgiveness and its effects on our well-being and happiness are very specific about how they define forgiveness.

Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky calls forgiveness “a shift in thinking” toward someone who has wronged you, “such that your desire to harm that person has decreased and your desire to do him good (or to benefit your relationship) has increased.” Forgiveness, at a minimum, is a decision to let go of the desire for revenge and ill-will toward the person who wronged you. It may also include feelings of goodwill toward the other person. Forgiveness is also a natural resolution of the grief process, which is the necessary acknowledgment of pain and loss.

Researchers are very clear about what forgiveness is not:

Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Forgiveness is one person’s inner response to another’s perceived injustice. Reconciliation is two people coming together in mutual respect. Reconciliation requires both parties working together. Forgiveness is something that is entirely up to you. Although reconciliation may follow forgiveness, it is possible to forgive without re-establishing or continuing the relationship. The person you forgive may be deceased or no longer part of your life. You may also choose not to reconcile, perhaps because you have no reason to believe that a relationship with the other person is healthy for you.


Forgiveness is not forgetting. “Forgive and forget” seem to go together. However, the process of forgiving involves acknowledging to yourself the wrong that was done to you, reflecting on it, and deciding how you want to think about it. Focusing on forgetting a wrong might lead to denying or suppressing feelings about it, which is not the same as forgiveness. Forgiveness has taken place when you can remember the wrong that was done without feeling resentment or a desire to pursue revenge. Sometimes, after we get to this point, we may forget about some of the wrongs people have done to us. But we don’t have to forget in order to forgive.


Forgiveness is not condoning or excusing. Forgiveness does not minimize, justify, or excuse the wrong that was done. Forgiveness also does not mean denying the harm and the feelings that the injustice produced. And forgiveness does not mean putting yourself in a position to be harmed again. You can forgive someone and still take healthy steps to protect yourself, including choosing not to reconcile.

Forgiveness is not justice. It is certainly easier to forgive someone who sincerely apologizes and makes amends. However, justice—which may include acknowledgment of the wrong, apologies, punishment, restitution, or compensation—is separate from forgiveness. You may pursue your rights for justice with or without forgiving someone. And if justice is denied, you can still choose whether or not to forgive.

Forgiveness is a powerful choice you can make when it’s right for you that can lead to greater well-being and better relationships.


Sources
The How of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubomirsky
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:38 PM   #2
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Here's some addendum just because...





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Old 05-05-2014, 01:35 PM   #3
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Thank you for adding this Redbear. It adds very much to this subject.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:48 PM   #4
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Forgiveness is a complex issue...
I personally find it hard to do in the context of this study...

Forgiveness is the mental, emotional and/or spiritual process of ceasing to feel resentment or anger against another person for a perceived offence, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives, in terms of the person forgiven and/or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In some contexts, it may be granted without any expectation of compensation, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgement, apology, and/or restitution, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe they are able to forgive.
Popular recognition of forgiveness.

The need to forgive is widely recognized by the public, but they are often at a loss for ways to accomplish it. For example, in a large representative sampling of American people on various religious topics in 1988, the Gallup Organization found that 94% said it was important to forgive, but 85% said they needed some outside help to be able to forgive. However, not even regular prayer was found to be effective. The Gallup poll revealed that the only thing that was effective was "meditative prayer".
Forgiveness as a foundation for authoritarian control.

Yoga teachers Joel Kramer and Diana Alstead analyse the use of unconditional love and the associated concept of foregiveness as a foundation for authoritarian control. They survey religions worldwide to make their assertion that religious imperatives of forgiveness are often used to perpetrate cycles of ongoing abuse. They state that "to forgive without requiring the other to change is not only self-destructive, but ensures a dysfunctional relationship will remain so by continually rewarding mistreatment."

For instance, one Christian sect, the Anabaptists, take Christian imperatives to forgive particularly seriously, interpret them literally and apply them rigorously inside their closed churches. As such, they are a case where one can assess the effects of applying religious-based forgiveness in all situations, 'no matter what'. Not surprisingly, they have a well-deserved reputation for being gentle people but, inside their communities, rigorously obeying (Christian) religious imperatives to forgive, 'no matter what', has been reported to cause effects similar to what Kramer and Alstead theorize in their abstract analysis. Kramer and Alstead also point out similar dynamics operating in Eastern 'Oneness' religions in their wide-ranging analysis of the religious roots of authoritarian control.

Kramer and Alstead assert that of faith-based ideals of forgiveness, while appearing selfless, contain implicit selfish aspects. They state that "when forgiving contains a moral component, there is moral superiority in the act itself that can allow one to feel virtuous". They ask: "As long as one is judging the other lacking, how much letting go can there be?" They note that "Where the virtue in 'moralistic foregiving' lies is also complicated by the fact that it is often unclear who benefits more from it, the one doing the forgiving or the one being forgiven." Not surprisingly, they note "that for many people, forgiving is an area of confusion both intellectually and emotionally."
Psychological theories about forgiveness.

Only in the last few decades has forgiveness received attention from psychologists and social psychologists. Psychological papers and books on the subject did not begin to appear until the 1980’s. Prior to that time it was a practice primarily left to matters of faith. Although there is presently no consensual psychological definition of forgiveness in the research literature, a consensus has emerged that forgiveness is a process and a number of models describing the process of forgiveness have been published.

Dr. Robert Enright from the University of Wisconsin-Madison is regarded to have placed forgiveness on the map. He founded the International Forgiveness Institute and is considered the initiator of forgiveness studies. Dr. Enright developed a 20-Step Process Model of Forgiveness.

Dr. Everett Worthington, a known lecturer and author on the subject of forgiveness has developed the Pyramid Model of Forgiveness. This model involves: recall the hurt; empathize; altruistic gift of forgiveness; commit to forgive; holding onto forgiveness.

Dr. Guy Pettitt of New Zealand, provides a comprehensive set of materials on both the need and benefits of forgiveness as well as the process to accomplish forgiveness. These materials are available as a free download.
Summary of differing views on forgiveness.



The differing views on forgiveness can be delineated on the basis of whether one believes forgiveness must be earned as opposed to regarding it as a gift.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, forgiveness to be earned would be considered only properly exercised if forgiveness is requested or earned through means such as atonement, amends, restitution or sincere apology. Such forgiveness often requires some sort of promise that the offending act or behavior will not be repeated. Forgiveness under these circumstances would remain conditioned upon the actions or words of the perceived wrongdoer. Certain religious views of forgiveness would fall under this category, especially when considering receiving forgiveness from one’s God. An example of this would be penance practiced by Catholics and certain other Christian denominations and similar practices by other religions. Such religious concepts may have a spillover effect towards one’s views on what is necessary for interpersonal forgiveness, even though most religions encourage interpersonal forgiveness without a requirement of it being earned as the religious sections above illustrate.
MagdalenechanForgivenessMagdalene Chan - "Forgiveness" “Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean.” Dag

Viewing forgiveness as a gift would hold that forgiveness begins with a decision the forgiver makes to let go of resentment held in the forgiver's mind of a perceived wrong or difference, either actual or imagined. As the choice of forgiveness is made in the mind of the forgiver, it can be made about any resentment, whether toward another, oneself, a group, a situation or even one's God. Under this view, forgiveness of another can be granted with or without the other asking for forgiveness.

When forgiveness is viewed as a gift the forgiver gives to oneself and/or the perceived wrongdoer to free their respective minds of resentment and guilt. Such forgiveness does not require repentance, contrition or any other form of "payment" from the forgiven. The act of forgiveness has merit in and of itself and can stand alone without condition and therefore outside control of the perceived wrongdoer’s behavior. As a gift to oneself forgiveness allows the person granting forgiveness the opportunity to overcome some hurt or emotional turmoil by offering closure and the ability to move on from the perceived situation or circumstance that merited an act of forgiveness. As a gift to the forgiven it provides a clearing for the forgiven to overcome the guilt, shame, stigma or other negative effects of their action or inaction that merited forgiveness. Advocates of this view generally maintain that forgiveness does not entail condoning the wrong or difference that occasioned the resentment.

Forgiveness of this nature is sometimes referred to as a selective remembering, whereby one focuses only upon love or loving thoughts and lets go of negative thoughts. Others hold that the act of forgiveness is less of a recognition of, or letting go of error, than it is an act of the recognition of the overriding good in another, thereby enabling both the one who would forgive and the one who would be forgiven, to actualize their greatest good.

Forgiveness is often associated with religious or spiritual teachings. However, religious or spiritual motivation or beliefs is not necessary for forgiveness. Forgiveness can be motivated by love, philosophy, appreciation for the forgiveness of others, empathy, personal temperament or pragmatism, including fear, obligation, appearances, harmony, or release.
Health aspects of forgiveness.

Studies show that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments. One study has shown that the positive benefit of forgiveness is similar whether it was based upon religious or secular counseling as opposed to a control group that received no forgiveness counseling.
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Last edited by Choice; 05-11-2014 at 07:49 PM. Reason: Corrected grammar
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:21 PM   #5
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Very interesting, thank you Choice.
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