People often do not understand what Forgiveness is or what it even looks like.
This is how I break it down for my clients:
- It is a cognition, NOT an emotion. It is a conscious decision to make regarding the treatment in a relationship. The “feels” come much later, usually in some form of relief.
- It is NOT about accepting or forgetting about anything. So it is not about accepting the offenses or forgetting about the abuse.
- It is about Releasing Expectations and Adjusting Boundaries:
We are to release the expectation that the offender should have, could have treated us better; it is adjusting the duration of time, space and/or frequency of exposure to the relationship.
People have often heard Forgiveness is related to Anger. I concur as I associate anger to unmet needs or unmet expectations. It is often encouraged to let go of one’s anger; that is the intention with letting go of one’s expectations.
Anger gets the most attention in “popular psychology” or “pop-psych” (when a psychological concept is popular, advertised or sensationalized with the public) but anger management is really Emotional Management as Anger is only one of four emotions that motivate us towards change. All to be elaborated in an upcoming blog-
Psychotherapy helps with the validation and accountability of this process because it may initially seem unfair, unjust. Thus requiring consistent support until the relief is experienced.