Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Are You Having Trouble Forgiving Someone?
By Tim Connor
Why is it so hard for people to forgive.
In every relationship each partner will from time to time behave in such a manner that their partner will have the opportunity to forgive them or hold on to the blame, resentment, anger or disappointment.
The willingness to forgive is an important ingredient all successful, peaceful, happy and positive relationships. The ability to forgive will be a useful tool in your relationship if it is used in a timely and effective way. It can be a negative one if used as a manipulation device to get your partner to relent, beg, plead or grovel for your willingness to let go of the hurt, pain or frustration.
Forgiveness is not about letting the other person off the hook for their transgressions or mistakes. Its primary function and value is to let you off the hook from the damaging consequences of carrying around allot of suppressed negative feelings.
So lets talk about what forgiveness is, what it isn't and how to learn to use this powerful relationship device.
Forgiveness is many things but it is most of all:
One, A letting go of the responsibility for the actions, feelings and behavior of your partner.
Two, It is taking the power back in your life for your own feelings, attitudes and behavior.
Three, It is freeing yourself from the negative emotions connected with the other persons behavior.
Why does it feel so painful when we are hurt by our partner's behavior, actions or words? We feel betrayed, let down, afraid, insecure, out of control, compromised. stupid, victimized and disappointed .
Since many of the reactions and emotions when we are hurt by our partner are negative why do they do the things that cause our pain or anger. First of all they don't do the things to us they just do them. Second they do them for any number of other reasons such as: they are human, they are unskilled at relationship issues, they have their own stuff that they are dealing with in their own consciousness, they don't think, they think we deserve it, they set us up, they don't know they are hurting us, they hurt us for our own good, they hurt us as a result of spill-overs from their own life issues, they hurt us because they don't care and they hurt us because they are on their own path learning the lessons in life that are theirs to learn.
You must remember that one of the reasons your partner is in your life is that they are a mirror for you. You brought them into your life to help you learn more about your self and the lessons you must deal with while on your path to wholeness.
There are many things that get in the way of forgiveness. Some of the more common elements are; ego, stress, poor communication skills, a lack of vulnerability or realness, a lack of honest self disclosure, an attitude that they are right, a desire to not be seen as soft or weak, especially in men, fear and stubbornness.
What about the ultimate benefits of forgiveness. This is the real purpose of forgiveness, to release all the pent up emotions or feelings that will ultimately contribute to poor health if you elect to hang on to them long enough.
The benefits are the release of negative energy, a clearing of the air, it opens the gate to intimacy, you become free of the past, you can move forward in the relationship and you will experience increased trust and security.
The costs of an unwillingness to forgive I am sure are obvious but for the record they are, poor health, emotional distance, broken relationships, stress, frustration and guarded or closed communication and unfinished business.
I have often been asked in my seminar on relationships two vital questions. First, is it possible to forgive someone that you will never see again either because of physical distance or death?
The answer is yes. They may or may not be aware of your forgiveness but remember its primary function is for you not them. The second question I am often asked is are their limits to what you should forgive? The question is no. Forgiveness is not forgetting.
An example I have used is that in a former life I did (according to my partner) a number of things that in her opinion were criteria for divorce. I have asked a number of people if I had done those things to them would they have asked for a divorce. The answer was always no, but that is not my point. If I were to call my former wife to forgive her for her behavior during our separation I am confident her attitude would be that she didn't do anything that required my forgiveness. So here I am I need to release all of this stuff, but I can send it to her without her rejection. Does that mean I am doomed to carry all of this stuff with me to my grave? NO. I sent her my love, light and my forgiveness out into the universe. I released all of my anger, pain and grief. She may or may not be aware of it but I am. And that is all that matters.
One area that we have not touched on so far which is by far the most critical element in forgiveness is the ability to forgive yourself.
Look at your own life in retrospect. What un-forgiveness are you carrying around in your mind that needs to be released. I will bet that you are either consciously or unconsciously punishing yourself for any number of words spoken or not spoken, deeds done or not done, mistakes, failures and behavior that you should have had or not had.
You need to let go of all of this negative baggage about yourself for all the same reasons you need to do it for another person.
There are four stages of forgiveness. The hurting stage, the hating stage, the healing stage and the coming together. Everyone spends a different amount of time in each stage. Everyone experiences and expresses themselves differently while in each stage. The key is to recognize that they exist and to be aware of your behavior while in each stage.
There are a few steps that you can follow to speed up the forgiveness process. They are;
One, learn to see the divinity in your partner. Two, recognize that they are not their behavior. They are so much more than the transgression, words or mistakes. Three, Know that most people are doing the best that they can with what they have at the time. Four, Practice forgiveness in little things before you tackle a biggie. Five, Is this person or situation worth getting sick over. Six, the mind can't hold love and hate in it at the same time, it can't hold un-forgiveness and acceptance in it at the same time. So choose your actions.
You and I are responsible to our partners but not for them. We are responsible for ourselves in the relationship but not their behavior or feelings. We are not responsible to but for. Subtle difference in definition but major difference in attitude or philosophy.
Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, relationship, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 704-895-1230 or visit his website at http://www.timconnor.com.
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