Forgiveness is Power FAQ
What is forgiveness?
For our purposes: forgiveness is letting go of wanting to punish. It can also be the process of letting go of wanting to punish. This can include the realization that we cannot want to punish someone without causing ourselves pain in some way – such as holding on to old hurts to “justify” our desire to punish. In this way forgiveness also becomes a process of letting go of pain. If you let go of pain you can no longer blame anyone for it, that is why forgiveness is partly a process of freeing yourself from pain.
Why would I want to forgive?
Many reasons. One very good one is that it frees you from pain. By not forgiving you maintain the pain from
an experience; by forgiving you let go of the pain. There is no way to forgive something and still be in pain about it.
How do I forgive?
The method offered on this site and in my book is called The Four Steps to Forgiveness. It is a simple technique which can be used by people of any religion or none. It is designed to be religion-neutral because Forgiveness is an ability which everyone needs. It is a concept which is embraced by virtually every religion. The religions of the world have done a very good job of encouraging us to forgive, but have not done such a good job of telling us how to actually do it. See the Four Steps to Forgiveness Worksheet
Does the The Four Steps to Forgiveness actually work?
Yes. Feedback on the technique has been so positive that I made an extract from the Four Steps to Forgiveness chapter of my book and have self-published it as a free ebook. The method is freely and openly available to all – so just give it a try. One tip, though: it is a recursive process so the more you go around the four steps for a particular topic the more your forgiveness feelings and intention will build, till you have a breakthrough.
Why should I forgive them (I still feel hurt)?
Forget the “should”. It is not about “should”. Forgive so it no longer hurts. Forgive so that you are free and can move on. Forgive because you deserve to be happy.
What if I just cannot forgive someone?
Then leave it for now and pick something you can forgive and work on that. If it helps you can also forgive yourself for the ways in which you are not ready to forgive.
Does forgiveness take work?
Yes, but it is a lot less work than not forgiving. Maintaining an unforgiving attitude is a lot more work (and bitter work at that) than forgiving.
If I forgive them, won’t they just hurt me again?
Forgiveness, for our purposes here, is mainly about letting go of wanting to punish. This is not the same as reconciliation which involves re-establishing a relationship. You can forgive and decide to not have any more to do with the person (ie if they are consistently abusive, a career criminal, in denial, or whatever) or you can reconcile with them using Tough Forgiveness.
What is Tough Forgiveness?
Tough Forgiveness is when you set clear boundaries or conditions as part of the process of reconciling with someone. Forgiveness is unconditional, but reconciliation can be conditional.
I have forgiven my husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/etc many times. You say Forgiveness frees me, so why do they still hurt me?
What you have been doing is pushing yourself into False Forgiveness which is not the genuine article. If you truly forgive them (which means working with both your gut feelings and your ideals using the Four Steps) then you will gain a deeper and wiser perspective which will set you free. Then you will know what to do about the relationship and whether to stay, walk away or negotiate your way to something better.
What is False Forgiveness?
False Forgiveness is what happens when we try to forgive without meeting the genuine needs of the parts of use which do not want to forgive. False Forgiveness usually comes from letting the person off the hook to “keep the peace” while going against our better values. True Forgiveness brings freedom and lightness; False Forgiveness brings frustration and more of the same.
Do I have the right to forgive myself?
If you can punish, judge, criticize, or blame yourself then you can forgive yourself. Forgiveness largely comes from doing less of those things. If you know how to do more of them; then you also know how to do less of them too – so stop blaming yourself and forgive yourself instead. Forgiving yourself is often part of forgiving other people as you may be judging yourself harshly for letting yourself be hurt.
If I have harmed someone, do I need to ask them to forgive me and maybe even make amends before I can forgive myself?
Just start with forgiving yourself and take it from there. You will soon see if you need to make amends or apologize (which can be very good things to do) as part of the process. If attempted too early making amends can be a form self-punishment in disguise.
I need to be forgiven, but feel stuck. What do I do?
Start by forgiving those you need to forgive. Start small and work your way up. You will soon find your way to receiving forgiveness for yourself.
Don’t I need God to forgive me?
You will not know if that happens (or has happened already) unless you are in contact with God. Try forgiving yourself and see whether your contact with God is any clearer.
What right have I to grant forgiveness?
We easily grant ourselves the right to judge and blame (usually without questioning it). Now grant yourself the right to forgive and see if it works better than judging and blaming.
How can I learn to forgive?
Use the Four Steps to Forgiveness Worksheet often. Play with it, modify it, see what works for you. Change it often as your priority is to learn to forgive; not to learn how to handle boredom.
Can I forgive someone who has died (moved away, etc)?
Yes. Absolutely. There are no conditions which stop you forgiving as it is unconditional. Some believe that it is not possible to forgive those who have died (or anyone who has not asked for forgiveness). But those who do not have this belief manage to forgive people who have died, so the block is purely due to the belief. If you have beliefs which stop you forgiving someone you have the option to change your beliefs so that you can forgive.
They have not apologized, how can I forgive them?
Will you apologize to yourself for keeping yourself in pain while waiting for their apology? Consider letting an apology from them be part of reconciliation via Tough Forgiveness, but forgive them if you can.
What is Reconciliation?
Reconciliation is when you choose to re-establish or maintain a relationship with the person you are forgiving. It does not have to be part of the forgiveness process but it often is. Letting reconciliation be separate and distinct from forgiveness can help with forgiving problematic and highly charged situations.
What is the difference between Forgiveness and Reconciliation?
Forgiveness means you let go of the desire to punish; reconciliation means you re-establish or maintain a relationship with the person you are forgiving. Forgiveness is always possible and always beneficial; Reconciliation is not always possible (they may be unreachable) and not always beneficial (neither you or the other may benefit) though it often is.