Latest News: Research on Forgiveness

Hi there! Camilla assigned to me to do research on forgiveness and apologies last week and I just finished it. I worked on it really hard and it begins below.

Here’s the definition for apology:

An apology tells someone that we’re sorry for what we did even if we mean it on purpose. It’s a way of saying we’re aware of what we did and we’ll try to do better in the future. Here’s why apologizing is important: Apologies are one of the tools we use to build good friendships and relationships. When someone says “I’m sorry” (and really mean it), it’s because you would probably feel bad or guilty
that something you did or said hurt or harmed someone.

Saying you’re sorry is
more than just words. You’re also saying that you respect the other
person and you care about his or her feelings. Apologizing shows you have empathy. After apologizing, you might feel a little better.

The other person probably will, too. When you apologize in a caring way, you can feel good because you are trying to make things right again. Everyone needs to apologize (even adults) when they do something wrong. By doing the right thing and saying “I’m sorry,” parents and other adults set an example.

That example is how kids and teenagers learn to apologize when they absolutely need to. When someone apologizes to you, you may welcome it and be ready to forgive whatever happened and move on or you might not feel like being friendly again right away. If a person keeps hurting you and apologizing without making an effort to change, you might not want to hang out with that person anymore. Apologies and forgiveness are important because intractable conflicts generate such deep and searing emotions.

Even after the fighting stops, people still feel the pain, hurt, anger, fear, and hatred that produced the conflict and its horrors in the first place. Without apology and forgiveness, people remain locked in the value systems that produced the conflict. Little progress beyond a ceasefire can be made. For some people, apologizing feels like an admission that they are inadequate–that, rather than having made a mistake, there is something inherently wrong with them.

Some people believe that offering the first apology after an argument is an admission of guilt and responsibility for the entirety of a conflict that involved wrongs on the part of both parties; they think an apology from them will allow the other person to take no responsibility for their own part in the conflict. Sometimes an apology seems to call added attention to a mistake that may have gone unnoticed. However, in the right circumstances, a well-delivered, appropriately sincere apology will generally avoid all of these issues, and will merely serve to usher in a resolution, reaffirm shared values, and restore positive feelings. You just have to know when and how to deliver your apology.

You can hurt yourself by hitting, sore throat or falling when you have a meltdown. The each culture or person has its own language. This is how Spanish people say sorry: ¡Lo Siento! This is how Russian people say sorry: Prastite/Izvinite Простите/ Извините

This is how Vietnamese people say sorry: Xin lỗi! Forgiveness, as you may have heard or experienced, is simply the act of letting go of the burden that you carry from another person who has hurt you out of their own pain, ignorance, or confusion. It’s a practice of freeing up your energy to focus on things that incline toward your own health and well-being or the health and well-being of others. There’s a saying: “Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get hurt or die.”

The reality is holding onto resentment literally keeps our cortisol running and makes us sick. The wonderful thing about forgiveness is it really only takes one to tango. You only need one person to forgive—you! You don’t even need the offender.

Right now, if you have someone you’re holding a grudge against or are resenting, imagine the two of you tied together in a tug of war and imagine the cord being cut…you no longer have the tension of the rope, you are free! Of course it’s not often this easy and it’s a practice to forgive, but what else is there to do? Hold onto the resentment so we continue to suffer? We’ve already been hurt, why continue to inflict further suffering on ourselves?

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”—Paul Boese If you are open to letting go of the resentment-habit and opening up to a better future, play with the following short forgiveness practice from The Now Effect: Allow this to be a choice point to practice forgiveness. Think of someone who has hurt you or caused you pain (maybe not the person who has hurt you most) whom you are holding a grudge against right now. Visualize the time you had been hurt by this person and feel the pain you still carry.

Hold tightly to your unwillingness to forgive. Now observe what emotion you are feeling. Is it anger, resentment, sadness? Also use your body as a barometer and notice physically what you feel.

Are you tense anywhere or feeling heavy? Now bring awareness to your thoughts; are they hateful, spiteful thoughts? Feel this burden that lives inside when you hold so tightly to past hurts. Now ask yourself, “Who is suffering?

Have I carried this burden long enough? Am I willing to forgive?” If not, that is okay, perhaps the time will come when you’re ready. If you are ready, practice “Breathing in, I acknowledge the pain, breathing out, forgiving and releasing this burden from my heart and mind.”

Continue this as long as it is supportive to you. Remind yourself that it takes courage to forgive and so allow this to be a part of your new story. Sometime’s it hard to break out of the habit of not apologizing and it’s easy to get into the habit of not apologizing. Here’s 2 illustrations below this sentence.



Sources I Used:

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