Relationship Issues Humans are designed to love. We believe that intimate engagement between partners is the golden road to personal growth and development. We are committed to helping you achieve peace and life satisfaction in your relationships
Forgiveness and Acceptance
Reaching real forgiveness is a process. Psychologically, there is a purpose in holding on to our resentments. We hold our resentments as a protection from further pain or emotional insult. Forgiveness means giving up our resentments and fears of being re-injured. Like resentment, forgiving requires us to become, once again, vulnerable to further insults from the other person.
On the other hand, reaching real forgiveness is liberating. Dr. Paul Standal believes that forgiveness is tied to our own sense of success and self-worth. Someone once said, “Your success is your greatest revenge.” Real forgiveness gives us a sense of control over our thoughts and actions. It can reinforce our fundamental sense of faith in order and justice. Forgiveness addresses our felt isolation, reinforcing our connection with others and our sense of purpose and will to live.
Forgiveness is not an all or nothing situation, It is not “totally and only.” Forgiving someone does not eliminate all your negative feelings towards you partner or conflicts that show up in any relationship. Forgiving someone is not really a sign that you are a good person nor is it always good for you if you are dealing with a hostile or narcissistic person in your life.
Particularly with infidelity, forgiving too easily is not healthy and, in fact, it is important to tie any forgiveness with behavior change and restitution on the part of the perpetrator. Changes in behavior that increase transparency, such as limiting overnight travel, changing their cell phone number or allowing password access to all electronic devices, engenders trust and increases the likelihood of forgiveness.
Genuine forgiveness is hard-won and requires an intimate dance between the people involved. The offending partner needs to apologize genuinely, non-defensively and responsibly and the apology needs to be heart-felt. It needs to be personal and specific and associated with the performance of socially appropriate, humble and heart-felt acts of kindness to dismantle their cognitive blocks to earning forgiveness. They must bear witness to the pain they caused. They must seek to understand their behavior and reveal the inglorious truth about themselves to the person they harmed. It is helpful for both parties to list the contributing factors leading to the offense as they know it. In the end, they must forgive themselves for injuring another person. The offending party must take responsibility for the damage they caused and work to earn back the trust of the offended partner.
It is important to note that forgiveness does not mean that you forget the injury or that all your negative feelings are replace by positive ones toward your partner. The offended partner needs to help the offender locate and understand the pain they have caused and allow them to make reparations. They can reinforce positive behaviors by letting the offending party know what they are doing right.
It is important to understand that a partner’s infidelity may often have contributing factors by the other party. It is important to recognize change and apologize for one’s contribution to the injury. We are not looking for perfect forgiveness, but just enough to go on. There is no black and white between victim and offender. Acceptance, on the other hand, is a responsible, authentic response to an interpersonal injury when the offender can’t or won’t engage in the healing process or when they are unwilling or unable to make good on behavioral promises. Acceptance of a situation that is unable to be forgiven requires a program of self-care involving a generous and healing, healthy self-interest which the hurt parties create for themselves and by themselves according to their specific needs.
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