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Forgiveness, Understanding

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March 2006 - Page creation



Here are a couple things I wrote about forgiveness. One is from a long time ago. My beliefs about forgiveness have changed over the years. What I wrote around 1998 seems a bit cold. Anyhow, here is what I have so far on forgiveness.

March, 2006

Forgiveness, Understanding

People who don't understand why they do things, and don't know what their emotional needs are and which emotional needs are unmet from their childhood; and who don't know why they are unmet, and how their parents, teachers and other adults failed to meet them, are less likely to be able to really forgive themselves.

I have really seen this with Laura.

To take this idea further, people who can't understand and forgive themselves probably will not be able to understand or forgive others.

I can forgive myself more easily now because I understand how I was emotionally damaged and I know I am just trying to meet my unmet emotional needs. And it is much easier for me to forgive others now.

S. Hein
March 3, 2006


I wrote something about how they don't teach us anything about forgiveness on my page called "What they didn't teach me in school."


Forgiveness and Children

I just wrote about forgiveness and understanding. Then I thought of how a teen friend of mine helped me learn to be more forgiving, simply by setting the example. This reminded me that children forgive very easy. They don't have to understand things to forgive. So I would suspect that it is natural to forgive. Maybe we only become unforgiving after years of unproductive resentment. I say unproductive because I believe it is possible for resentment to be productive, depending on how we use it.

Some writing from around around 1998...

I am not a big believer in what some authors have called "quick forgiveness." Generally, I believe if someone has harmed us or the species, there is some restitution needed, or at least some acknowledgement, acceptance of responsibility or apology. I have not done much work on forgiveness. For me, I am able to forgive when someone apologizes, but not when they do not do any of the above. I think there is some value in not forgiving, but on the other hand I see that bitterness is toxic and acceptance leads to inner peace and better physical health.

There is also lots of stuff on forgiveness on the net. I recommend a search in google.com


Here is something someone else wrote:

"Very few people are emotionally skilled enough to apologize sincerely, and without any defensiveness. "

My comments:

In the above example he talks about being sufficiently emotionally "skilled" to apologize "sincerely" and "without any defensiveness". I believe that sincerity and lack of defensiveness are more a matter of the actual feelings behind the words, rather than a form of skill.

For example, I might be able to say or write words such as "Thank you for letting me know how my actions hurt you. I sincerely regret my behavior. Please accept my apologies and please let me know in the future if anything I do bothers you."

Yet, I might still be feeling justified for what I did, unapologetic and defensive. If so, the other person will sense this no matter what words I use, especially if the message is delivered verbally in person, where the body language will reveal the true feelings.

To truly feel remorseful seems to require that we feel real empathy. To feel empathy seems to require that we feel secure enough in ourselves not to feel defensive. (see section on empathy) These feelings are much harder to attain than simple skills and techniques of communicating. They require that we actually change how we feel about ourselves -- a much more difficult task than changing our outward behavior.

I would suggest Steiner say "few people have the emotional security, awareness and skills, in combination with enough emotional honesty, to apologize sincerely without even feeling defensive."


from http://eqi.org/steiner.htm


Forgiveness.... Empathy?

No one feels empathy. Everyone feels defensive. Attacked. Insecure.

No one can forgive. Because they can't forgive themselves? Because no one can forgive them? Because no one can forgive themselves?

No one understands themselves. No one understands their needs so they can't understand anyone else's.

No one likes themselves. Has high self-esteem, high self acceptance. Feels accepted by others. Cared about by others. Important to others.

Attacked for not being a good mother.