About Forgiving

“Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past.” Lily Tomlin

Forgiving is complex. Among other things, forgiveness means being able to let go of the hurt and pain from a situation that causes us much grief. Some people expect that once they apologize for something they said or did that they are forgiven. It’s not that easy.

There are many layers to forgiveness, including how egregious the act was or the words were, how deeply we feel the pain of that act or those words, the nature of the deed or words that hurt us, who asks for forgiveness and how forgiveness is requested. Sometimes when we seem to be unable to forgive, we may not be ready to let go of particularly hurtful memories and emotions about the other person or the situation. Maybe, too, we haven’t forgiven ourselves for something. These and other reasons preclude our willingness, ability and readiness to forgive. And the question often arises – do I have to forgive?

In a future blog, I’ll talk more about the perspective of the person asking for forgiveness. Today’s questions from the ConflictMastery Quest(ions) are for people who are not forgiving someone for something said or done in an interpersonal dispute. Consider a situation in which this applies to you and see if some or all of these questions are helpful.

  • What happened between you and the other person?
  • What specifically is it that you are not forgiving about what occurred?
  • What is making it most difficult for you to forgive?
  • What is the impact of not forgiving having on you?
  • What is the impact on the other person?
  • Forgiving may not be what you want to do. If that’s what is happening for you, why do you think you don’t want to forgive?
  • How would life be different if you forgive the other person?
  • What may you lose, if anything, if you forgive? What may you gain, if anything, if you do?
  • What may you lose if you do not forgive? What may you gain if you do not forgive?
  • What do you suppose has to happen for you to be ready to forgive the other person, if forgiving is what you want to do?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
author

Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You. MORE

Featured Mediators

ad
View all

Read these next

Category

ISDA Issues Model Arbitration Clauses for use with Master Agreements

Arbitration News Blog by Herbert SmithThe International Swaps and Derivatives Association (“ISDA“) has released a number of model arbitration clauses for use with the ISDA 2002 Master Agreement and ISDA...

By Herbert Smith
Category

The Edinburgh Declaration of International Mediators

From the Kluwer Arbitration blogI write this in the aftermath of the really uplifting and wonderfully diverse conference which I had the privilege to host and chair recently in my...

By John Sturrock
Category

No soap, radio: confronting our fear of asking questions

Those of you who grew up in the U.S. may be familiar with “no soap, radio“, a prankster’s joke.  When I was a kid, it was the kind of gag...

By Diane J. Levin

Find a Mediator

X
X
X