The Nature of Forgiveness

Mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us, instead of allowing anger toward them to eat away at us, is the course of action recommended by most psychologists. An exception to the belief that burying the hatchet brings peace to the soul may be sexual abuse: Some victims of these crimes are empowered when given permission to not forgive.

Recent Posts on Forgiveness

A Riddle For All Ages

By Kaja Perina on August 03, 2015 in Brainstorm
When my son was old enough to understand the basic concept of infinity (but hardly its nuance), he presented me with a “trick riddle.”

We Succeed by Our Failures

When we reflect on our childhood we tend to recall the tough times -- times when we as kids screwed up, or when our parents failed. It turns out that the dance between love and hate, doing right and doing wrong, and above all making amends is critical for secure attachments. We learn to trust other, indeed, we learn to be moral as part of a normal developmental process.

How Are You Portraying Yourself When Using Social Media?

By Gregg McBride on July 25, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
When did vitriol become a national pastime and filling our social media feeds with hatred become de rigeur? Has initially greeting someone we don't understand (or even that we don't agree with) with kindness become a thing of the past?

There Must Be a Good Reason

By Bernard L. De Koven on July 22, 2015 in On Having Fun
A game to play with yourself before you start hating people.

Game of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is good. Yet, it is not always forthcoming. This should tell us something about human psychology.

The Benefits of a Trauma-Sensitive Approach to Healing Shame

I have created a compassion cure program for former victims of trauma that includes: self-understanding, self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, self-kindness, and self-encouragement. This article focuses on the first of these five components of self-compassion.

Ben Affleck: Can You Forgive a Betrayer?

By Jane Greer Ph.D. on July 16, 2015 in Shrink Wrap
Can your partner change?

Must We Forgive?

By Jeanne Safer Ph.D. on July 06, 2015 in The Last Taboos
Forgiving can bring peace, if not always equilibrium, after violent crimes as well as crimes of the heart. But I question the imperative to grant it, especially the automatic, instantaneous kind that is so often idealized.

Regret vs. Remorse

The borderline or narcissist is often regretful, but how often do they really fee remorse for hurting others?

6 Important Facts About Forgiveness

From our partner not doing their share of the chores to infidelity, brutal mass murder and everything in between, there are many times in life when we are called on to forgive (or not). Consider these psychological facts before making your personal decision about forgiveness.

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

The families of slain church members teach us a lesson in forgiveness.

Keeping the Faith With Cindy Williams

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on June 25, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Cindy Williams of TV's "Laverne and Shirley" shares how her devout faith in G-d has shaped the person that she is today.

Reflections on Victim Impact Statements at Murder Trials

By Stanton Peele on June 25, 2015 in Addiction in Society
Statements at sentencing hearings provide a window into the minds of the individuals who perpetrate crimes, their victims, and those who love or are related to them.

Your Old School-Days Bully Wants to Friend You

On the one hand, you can finally have your voice heard, even dish back a moment of—pain? Doubt? Regret? Humility? (while reminding him or her what a little shit s/he was). On the other hand, what’s the point? Reminding them of their cruelties may feel good, in the moment, but after hitting “Send” are you really able to move on? What is it you want?

Dylann Roof—Evil or Ill?

How to think about the Charleston killings and Dylann Roof

Selma and I Turn 50: Thoughts & Feelings About Charleston SC

By Kyle D Killian Ph.D. on June 22, 2015 in Intersections
Yes, black lives matter, but your mileage may vary.

Forgiving the Unforgivable: From Hatred to Empathy

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on June 19, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
What are the psychological and evolutionary imperatives that undergird hate and racism? How can we undercut hatred with forgiveness and love? An interdisciplinary, cross-cultural understanding and reflections on the Charleston massacre.

Anathema Art: Using Inmates' Art to Help Them Transcend

This post emerged from a conversation and interview with Angela Luttrell, founder of Anathema Art, an amazing program that uses art to help prison inmates transcend their limitations and circumstances.

9 Ways to Talk Yourself Out of Unnecessary Guilt

Feelings of guilt arise from betraying your ethical standards. As a psychological phenomenon, though, guilt can be quite thorny. For if you’re afflicted with a tyrannical superego—one that feels compelled to torment you for the slightest perceived infraction—you’ll be haunted by such feelings even when you haven’t done anything that culpable.

5 Steps to an Apology That Really Works

Communication with a partner is never more important than when conflict happens. Learn how to build and execute a better apology, and how to achieve the art of forgiveness.

How Forgiveness Therapy Helps Emotional Eating

By Karen Salmansohn on June 09, 2015 in Bouncing Back
If you want a successful Weight Loss Plan, start with a "Hate Loss Plan."

Hugging the Horse's Head

By John Sean Doyle on June 09, 2015 in Luminous Things
In an open air market in Turin, Nietzsche witnessed a merchant flogging a horse. He ran to the animal and yelled for the beating to stop. He threw himself between beast and whip, and hugged the equine’s thick neck. This frail and sickly philosopher who gave us the Übermensch and slave morality, then collapsed, weeping. I understand why Nietzsche hugged the horse's head.

The Invention of Bedside Manner

By Hugh Aldersey-Williams on June 08, 2015 in A Curious Mind
Medical students were not given much exposure to actual patients until William Osler introduced the idea of the teaching hospital at Johns Hopkins in the 1890s. Osler was inspired in his humanistic approach to medical care by the 17th century English writer and physician Sir Thomas Browne. Browne debunked the foolish beliefs of his day and coined many words we still use.

What Trolls Don't Know About Children's Mental Illness

By Liza Long on June 04, 2015 in The Accidental Advocate
The Internet has made experts of all of us. But when your child is suffering from a mental illness, the "obvious" causes aren't always so obvious. Let’s all stop to think, just for a minute, before making a potentially hateful and hurtful comment about an issue that might be more complex than it appears at first glance.

Throwing Bullets on the Fire

By John Sean Doyle on May 28, 2015 in Luminous Things
We look at the mindless and senseless things people do and it is easy to blame. How can they be so stupid? Didn’t they think for a moment? But as long as there is no ricochet or crash, we are allowed to forget that we too are irresponsible and thoughtless. Every one of us is negligent. But to be negligent and unlucky? That is a crime no one can ever shake off.

3 Facts Everyone Needs to Know About Couples and Affairs

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on May 27, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
How would you respond if a friend or loved one decided to stay with a partner who had cheated?

Forgiveness and the Meaning of Memorial Day

We can forgive those who harm us, but we can't forgive those who kill us.

Why Patience is Power

By Neel Burton M.D. on May 23, 2015 in Hide and Seek
Life is too short to wait, but it is not too short for patience.

Why Do Positive Leaders Believe It Pays to Be Virtuous?

As a leader what virtues do you encourage in your team? Could a more virtuous approach be the competitive differentiator that enables your organization to flourish?

Boxing and Domestic Abuse

Why boxing is not a causal factor behind domestic abuse