I was really beginning to think about what I could discuss today. I had a few ideas but, I have some better timing for those topics.
To be honest, I am still reeling from this weekend. This was certainly one of the craziest weekends I have had in a while, but I am so full of joy from how successful our annual Christmas fundraiser was. We raised almost $900! We have enough to provide two families with Christmas gifts and dinner. We will have some leftover cash that we will be putting towards purchasing some thick hoodies for homeless vets as well. I am just absolutely thankful to have such a strong community that cares about each other!
So the topic today that I wanted to talk about is forgiveness. I believe we have touched on making amends, but I believe that these two topics are important to differentiate between. Making amends with someone is basically apologizing with the intent to never commit the act again. Making amends is more introspective. It is designed to allow us to let go of the hurt that we have caused others and make it right by not repeating the same act again (we may dive into this deeper later). However, forgiveness is slightly different.
In recovery forgiveness is two ways; forgiving others and asking for forgiveness. Making amends doesn’t require action from the other person while asking for forgiveness does. Now just because we ask for forgiveness doesn’t mean that we require the other person to accept it, or give up their approval.
When we ask for forgiveness we are putting ourselves out there and making ourselves vulnerable. This is very important in recovery and I will probably talk about vulnerability a lot on the blog. The person that we are seeking forgiveness from has a chance to see us in a light that they might not be used to. This can be very powerful in affecting their response. However, if you are using this as a manipulation tactic, it will only work a few times and then you will have ruined a great tool for moving through some of the toughest times in recovery.
Sincerity is very important. If you are not truly sorry and really seek to begin to mend the bond then I would not suggest you request forgiveness. This can also make the process of requesting forgiveness even harder than it already is.
Now if someone is requesting forgiveness from you there are some elements that we need to consider. We need to make sure that we are reserved with our forgiveness. We do not want to enable poor behavior by making the forgiveness a “get out of jail free” card. We must evaluate the situation and make the best judgment from there. Only you will be able to make those calls. It is certainly healthy to simply say thanks and let to person know that you need some time to process if you can accept their apology and give them forgiveness. Don’t hesitate doing this as you can take a day or two to really analyze what the best choice is. Sometimes asking others or journaling can help you figure out what is the right choice for the situations.
One more note for those accepting forgiveness. Once you have forgiven the person that means that the issue ends. Don’t bring it up six months later as a way to bring them down or hurt them. If you cannot get over the problem after the forgiveness then don’t give it in the first place.
Forgiveness is a powerful tool to mend bonds and fix relationships. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. Please make sure that when you are entering a relationship that may have been toxic in the past that you have studies boundaries and enabling in order to tell how to handle the issue.
If you have any other questions or comment please feel free to reach out to me, via email through this site, and I will be more than happy to help you with any issue that you might be having.
Take care of each other!
I had a counselor who had told me about how his mother didn’t trust him. There was a lot of forgiveness to be put out. When he would visit her she would hide her purse from him. While it hurt him to no end, he knew why. This type of behavior lasted clear into him becoming a drug and alcohol counselor.
After his mother passed away, he returned home to handle her estate with his siblings. To his surprise, his mother had left him as the responsible party in handling her estate.
Just because we don’t think that we are making way with people in our recovery, doesn’t mean that we aren’t.