As stated by Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive divine.”
True forgiveness is probably one of the most difficult things to achieve as a human being because it means both acknowledging that we have been wronged by another and that it is better to let go for both our own wellbeing and for the welfare of the person who has hurt us. Forgiveness means closing a chapter and moving on. Making the choice to forgive can be a liberating practice. One that if practiced proactively can lead to a life filled with exquisite experiences. It is imperative to remember that forgiveness is only possible because we have a choice to forgive or not to forgive and no one can force us to do either. Forgiveness does not imply that we are condoning the behavior or letting someone off the hook. Forgiveness means that we are strong enough to move on from the old grudge. We can still condemn the action while seeing the human being behind the behavior. Forgiveness is not obtained with the click of our fingers. Rather, forgiveness is accomplished in stages and requires a great deal of will and hard work. What are the stages of forgiveness?
Stage One: Hurt — In this first stage you are filled with self justified anger. At some point you have been wounded and you are mad at and hurt by the person who wronged you. You blame the person who has wronged you for the sorrow that you feel.
Stage Two: Hate and Anger — The second stage towards forgiveness emerges when you realize that the hurt and anger you are feeling leaves you feeling badly. These feelings may be impacting your emotional balance and your physical health. At this stage you may begin to see the problem from the other person’s point of view.
Stage Three: Healing — The third stage of forgiveness comes when you make the choice to let go of the grievance you have been holding onto to allowing healing to occur. In this stage you may still feel the hurt but for shorter periods of time and then move to working towards repairing the relationship. In this case you decide to forgive because you have had some practice with it and see the clear benefits it provides in your life.
Stage Four: Coming Together — In this stage you cut away the wrong that was done to you and detach the person who has hurt from the pain you have felt. You then invite that person back into your mind in a fresh way as if a piece of history between you and them has been re-written allowing its grip on your memory to be broken.
According to Martin Luther King, “Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains a barrier to the relationship.”
Sole Life Coaching, Pennington, New Jersey. 609-737-9980. email:firstname.lastname@example.org www.elizabethsavino.com
Elizabeth Savino is Personal Life Coach and founder of Sole Life Coaching located in Pennington, New Jersey. She specializes in working with women in transition and promoting empowerment to promote positive change. Elizabeth graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Special Education. She has studied coaching through Mentor Coach and Coach U which are coaching schools that train individuals to become Certified Coaches recognized by the International Coach Federation of which she is also a member.