Yesterday, we explored the practice of saying sorry in meaningful and effective ways. We can't look at apology without looking at forgiveness. Let's do that now.
I once went to seminar by Dr. Fredric Luskin, a leading researcher and practitioner on forgiveness. Before I went, I honestly didn't know that I had a lot to learn about forgiveness. But I do. We all do. Luskin describes the practice of forgiveness as:
"learning how to bounce back when things don't go the way you wanted them to"
How many times in any given day do things not turn out the way we hoped?
Why is there so much traffic?
He lied to me.
She told me she was going to do that for me and she just blew me off!
I don't know about you, but I spend way too much time perseverating on the all of the people and situations who don't behave exactly like I want them to. The above are example of little things but what happens when the examples are a bit more serious:
I can't believe my house got broken into.
I thought he loved me. Why did he hit me?
She was supposed to friend and now she has turned the whole school against me!
Like I say in the Say Yes Meditation, "Saying Yes does not mean you must approve of other’s hurtful actions and behaviors." What if we could use forgiveness as a way of simply making space for others to take responsibility for their actions without being bogged down with own resentments and anger that they did not behave the way we would have wanted them to?
The 9 Steps of Forgiveness
Fred Luskin has created a beautiful list that outlines the steps of forgiveness. Let me introduce you to the first 3:
- Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate what about the situation is not OK. Then, tell a trusted couple of people about your experience.
- Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better. Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else.
- Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you, or condoning of their action. What you are after is to find peace...