July: Promoting Forgiveness

Hi beautiful soul!

How have you been? Perhaps you want to take some time and reflect on the first six months of this year. What went well? What have you learned? How did you develop?
Taking the time to reflect on our experiences can be extremely powerful and helps us to find our direction in life. What do you want to continue? What is something that you would like to change?

For the last six months, we have focused mainly on interventions coming from an already positive starting point. However, everyone of us has made the experience that life does not always offer us what we wished. (Almost) everyone of us has been hurt during his or her life, or has gone through some challenging times. And this is nothing we should be ashamed of or frustrated by! We grow so much from difficulties, and we can develop a stronger sense of who we are when we are challenged. 

Nevertheless, most of us have been hurt or harmed by someone, and we can’t stop holding a grudge. This is absolutely understandable as well as “normal”.
But: by holding a grudge against someone we mainly do harm to ourselves. We carry all the frustration within us and don’t allow ourselves to let go of negative feelings. Instead, we want to blame the other person, and we want them to apologise. The bad news is, unfortunately it is not always possible and some people will never apologise. The good news is, we can still work towards letting go of our grudge.

(DISCLAIMER: if you carry a traumatic experience, this might not be for you.)

Forgiveness Letter (Worthington, 2005)

Studies show that people who forgive transform negative dispositions, such as revenge or avoidance, into more positive affects, e.g. loving-kindness or compassion. Several interventions have been found to enhance forgiveness, while one of the main practices is writing a forgiveness letter.

“Write a forgiveness letter to someone who has wronged you. You do not have to send it or show it to anyone (These individuals may or may not be part of your life or even alive still). Describe in detail the injury or offence that was done to you. Illustrate how you were affected by it at the time and how you continue to be hurt by it. State what you wish the other person had done instead. End the letter with an explicit statement of forgiveness and understanding.” (Worthington, 2005)

Researchers have found positive correlations between forgiveness-based writing and enhanced levels of forgiveness as well as emotional health. By “modifying one person’s perceptions of and responses to an offense” the forgiveness letter demonstrates a “valuable starting point for the ultimate goal of interpersonal healing” (Romero, 2008, p. 626). Thus, we are able to take responsibility of our feelings and thoughts, and let go of our feelings of being a victim.

Please, if you apply these intervention, be as compassionate and patient towards yourself as possible. It may not change in between a few days, but rather take a while. But I promise you: it is worth it.

Sending all my love ♥,

Kira

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