Expert Author Susan Leigh
There's a saying, forgive and forget, but is it possible to truly do either, and indeed, do we really want to? Some people may argue that it's plain foolish even attempting to forgive a wrong done to us. Infidelity, crime, lies, deceit can make us feel threatened and insecure. Why risk making ourselves vulnerable and putting ourselves in harm's way once again.
Let's look at the different viewpoints when someone is seeking forgiveness.
A person seeking forgiveness:
- May be genuinely remorseful. They may have been naive, misled, misunderstood a situation, not calculating the impact their actions would have on others.
- It may have taken the full force of other people's reactions for them to realise the enormity of what they have done, understand the consequences of their actions and fully appreciate what they stand to lose.
- Without forgiveness, what lies ahead for them may be an unnerving prospect. Losing their existing lifestyle, routine, perhaps family and friends can bring about a serious wake up call.
- Growing up can happen overnight at times like these. The need to become more responsible, appreciate other's points of view, be more sensitive, listen better all have to be considered when someone is seeking forgiveness.
- Better self-awareness is often required. Hypnotherapy can play a valuable role in helping people understand their motivation for behaving in the way they did. What was missing in their lives, what were they looking for when they justified their actions to themselves?
A person being asked to forgive:
- May feel foolish, naive, stupid at having allowed themselves to be deceived in such a way. They believed, trusted the other person and it's resulted in betrayed. How they ever believe anyone again and how can they ever trust their own judgement again?
- Being asked to forgive may feel as if they're being asked to condone or minimise the magnitude of the wrong that has been committed. They may feel that they're being asked, perhaps even guilt-tripped into giving the other person a pass, inferring that the bad behaviour wasn't so wrong after all, almost letting them off the hook.
- Some people being asked to forgive can feel disrespected if they start to feel under pressure to be more charitable or understanding. It can feel hurtful, as if their pain counts for less than the importance of reinstating harmony and equilibrium amongst colleagues, friends or family. These people need to feel listened to, their position appreciated and understood. Then any negotiation stands a better chance of being successful.
Situations that require forgiveness can cause the people involved to change rapidly. Many people say that the experience made them grow up almost overnight. Others say that they became cynical, unable to trust and wary of relationships, still others felt that growing a protective shell was the best way forward, to safeguard against future hurt.
Counselling and hypnotherapy can help in these situations. It can help both sides recognise what has actually occurred between them; have communications failed, was something missing from the relationship, did one person feel afraid of being harshly judged, is there enough fun, relaxation, are both people's needs being met?
Sometimes working through these experiences with sensitivity and respect can bring improved understanding and empathy into a relationship and can provide a valuable opportunity for growth. Whilst the people involved may not forget what has happened it can provide a chance for more open and honest communications, greater appreciation of each other's personalities and that in itself can look very much like forgiveness.
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