In my work with clients often they want to have the goal of forgiving others. I have spent time researching this and want to share some of the things I have learned. Often, I see people rushing to forgiveness before they have given themselves time to be angry, set boundaries and let themselves feel what they are feeling. On some level they may need to go through the steps of grieving. We don’t just grieve when people die. Any loss we have, we need to grief on some level. This could be a job, end of a relationship, a change in a relationship, changes in health, when we are disappointed, or anything you may be struggling with. Remember your feelings are valid and there is help to work through them.
Forgiveness is not something that ever needs to be someone’s goal. That is up to each of us to decide for ourselves. You get to be the authority of your own life and decide what is right for you. Getting help from experts can be really helpful and you get to be part of that process. Remember you are the expert on your own life. You get to own and make your choices.
If forgiveness is something you want to move forward with, knowing when you are ready, redefining forgiveness, and having some steps to take is a good place to start.
Dr. Fredrick Luskin is one of the world’s foremost experts on this subject. He has directed the Stanford Forgiveness Projects, researched forgiveness, and taught trainings, classes and workshops. I will be drawing from his work for this blog post.
Knowing if you are ready to forgive, if that is your choice:
Before moving forward, we need to make clear the three preconditions needed before we are ready to forgive.