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How Forgiveness Benefits Individual, Family, and Community Health
Robert Enright Ph.D.
Hopelessness is an infection of our times. Letting it keep marching without a challenge is a danger. We begin a 4-part series by examining philosophical ideas that do not uplift.
When treated deeply unfairly by others, you do not have to live with resentment that could destroy you. Unconditional forgiveness is one of the strongest paths to hope and freedom.
How do you coordinate your forgiving and the other's seeking forgiveness? It's not easy, because you may be at different parts of your own process.
Making one particular adjustment in your thinking might go a long way in helping you to like yourself again and to move forward well, despite any relationship set-back.
Why would one want to forgive? After all, the person is no longer here to hurt you. Yet the conflicts of the past can live on in us.
How has forgiveness been weaponized against women? Who else is feeling the effects?
When you are treated unfairly, are you tempted to just "move on"? Do you then say that this action is forgiveness? You might want to take a deeper look at what forgiveness is.
Being humiliated can lead to an anger that can last for months and years. Few writings address this issue or suggest how its effects are neutralized.
Dealing with narcissistic people who offend you can complicate the forgiveness process. Learn how to understand the narcissistic patterns to make forgiving easier.
Your current stresses may have origins in the stresses your great-great-grandparents faced. Is it possible that stresses and their effects are handed down through the generations?
Too often, people are living in the present with the weight of the past inside of them. It not only is unproductive to let this happen but also you can be freed to thrive.
Should people engage in self-forgiveness or is it an illusion or perhaps even inappropriate? Three controversies surrounding self-forgiveness are described and addressed here.
When treated unfairly by others, you might feel offended. A key issue rarely asked is this: In the offense, have I been harmed? If not, this insight may help to reduce resentment.
You must not forgive some people for certain acts! Is this true? Your answer to this question is important because it could aid or hinder healthy development.
Having a struggle forgiving someone? Doing something good for someone who was not good to you may promote emotional healing.
Having all basic needs met does not necessarily lead to transcendent views such as altruism, generosity, and the search for spiritual truth. So what is the way forward?
Gaslighting and ghosting can be harmful. Your decision to forgive may help you clarify that it is not you who has the problem and help you move on.
Forgiveness can set people free. Not ready to forgive? Do not become imprisoned by harshly judging yourself as not morally virtuous. It is time to explore this issue.
Sometimes people make the philosophical error of equating forgiving and reconciling. Knowing the difference between the two can improve your psychological health.
You do more than put the salve of contentment onto your psychological self when you forgive. You stand strong in the good, despite very challenging opposition. This is heroism.
Forgiveness has a variety of life-giving attributes. When you choose to forgive, do you deliberately try to incorporate any of these? Perhaps it is time to give forgiveness a try.
Behaviorism is a popular therapeutic approach. But what are you "buying" when you believe its principles? You might be surprised to learn.
I come to you with an idea: to understand, nurture, and bring forth the idea of forgiveness within the human heart, within families, schools, workplaces, and communities.
Forgiving a cheating boyfriend needs patience because of the pain. Be gentle with yourself. At the same time, when you are ready, be sure to seek fairness from him.
When you forgive, do you see its highest expression as love? Do you see the need for courage to accompany forgiveness? How can you balance these issues of love and courage?
Even if you have had a series of challenging romantic relationships, your new partner and you may be strengthened if you consider the five points described here.
We sometimes think that those who hurt us have far more control over us than they actually do.
When others treat us unfairly we tend to become collectors of wounds that can deprive us of happiness. Perhaps it is time to confront those accumulated wounds.
Families can reduce the tensions in the home and create greater harmony between partners and among children, if forgiveness becomes part of the norm for healthy family functioning.
Too often when people hurt us, we get so angry that we hurt others. "The bad guys" then win twice: first in their hurting us and then in our becoming injurers of others.
Robert Enright, Ph.D., is a professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a licensed psychologist who pioneered the social scientific study of forgiveness.