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Another View of Forgiveness

I am a certified health coach specializing in recovery coaching, mindfulness coaching, and health coaching. I work with all attachments including substance, codependency, and food ...Read More

Most discussions on forgiveness involve and offense, an apology and an acceptance of the apology leading to forgiveness. I would like to present another view. I have been influenced by my years as a therapist, being a recovering person and my Buddhist training.

In order to forgive, we need to know what forgiveness is. Forgiveness benefits the forgiver, not the one to be forgiven. The one forgiven may feel a sense of relief that he or she is off the hook so to speak, but the forgiver receives the Karmic benefit.

Forgiveness does not mean, “oh thats ok” especially when the offense is grave. Forgiveness is radical acceptance of the truth of the situation. For instance, your parent lays really big guilt trips on you over and over. What happens when you forgive one offense only to have that happen over and over again. Must you forgive over and over? No.

Radical acceptance goes something like this. My parent is serial guilt tripper. He or she will do this over and over again. I know this to be true. I can actually come to expect this on a regular basis. I get it! Once we get it when the offense happens again we are no longer affected viscerally. We come to expect that behavior and we are able to brush it off our shoulders. We are able to say to ourselves…”put on the seatbelt, we are going on a guilt trip”, meaning we begin to not take the offense personally.

When we do not take another’s offense personally, it is no longer about us. We just look at it as the way this person operates. We have no visceral reaction. We no longer become triggered.

Forgiveness is radical acceptance of what is. It is a process that requires mindfulness and introspection and maturity. It requires detachment from the offending person. This loving detachment creates the ability to humbly see our offending parent as a being that is hurting and unable to operate in a mature way. When we say to the other, “I forgive you” in essence we are saying “I get you”.

Be well!

Keep Reading By Author Michele Happe, MA, Certified Health Coach
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