Finding forgiveness is one of those critical factors in personal well being. It is oft spoken about, and encouraged, in spiritual and religious traditions around the world. We don’t forgive to benefit the perpetrator or those who caused us injury. We forgive so we are not burdened with the anger, resentment, blame and hatred that can come from holding a grudge.
Forgiveness is not easy. If it were, everybody would do it. But, neither is it impossible. One of the obstacles to finding forgiveness is improper understanding of exactly what it is, what it entails, what it encompasses, and the value it has for personal and social health, both psychological and physical. The dictionary definition of forgiveness is ‘the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense from or punishment of the offender, however legally or morally justified it might be, and with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning, excusing, forgetting, pardoning, and reconciliation.’ (Wikipedia). And, ‘to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)’ (Miriam-Webster). But, how does one do it?
Forgiveness is a process. It is a healing journey. It is not something one does and then done; it is a day by day recognition, rememberance, that life owes us nothing, and yet, despite our frustrations, disappointments, hurts and injuries, despite our grief and sorrows, there is a lot to appreciate, that the positives of our lives may very well outweigh the negatives.
In this video segment you will get a better understanding of authentic forgiveness presented by Dr. Fred Luskin, Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects, and author of the book Forgive For Good. Dr. Luskin suggests that forgiveness is coming to be at peace within ourselves when life says no to what we want. Forgiveness is coming to know that our grievance against life is irrational and that nowhere is it writ anywhere that life must say yes to us all the time. Frustration and disappointment, loss and failure, is as much a part of life as is accomplishment and achievement, gain and success. Forgiveness accepts the nature of life.