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Can you ever forgive? A few strategies

Nineteenth century Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, humorously penned, “Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much”

Love as a topic tops lists, but forgiveness runs a close second. Some of the most famous quotes by the most famous people draw attention to the abstract noun. Nineteenth century Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, humorously penned, “Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much,” while contemporary actor Tyler Perry shared more serious wisdom on the subject: “It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.” And in the bible there is Jesus’ well-known mandate: people should forgive each other “seventy times seven times” (Matthew 18:22); the numerical reference indicates there should be no limit when it comes to extending forgiveness.

Forgiveness falls into a different category than reconciliation and/or forgetting a wrong, but there are ways to sincerely forgive and move on from a hurt. Five strategies verywellmind.com offered in June are:

1) Express feelings – in person, in a letter, in a journal. If a letter is written, it may not need to be sent, just written and then torn up or burned. Before confronting someone in a non-threatening way, it may be helpful to brush up on conflict resolution skills. And, avoid a public social media forgiveness campaign. In notablelife.com’s “Why It’s Time to Stop Airing Your Dirty Laundry on Facebook,” users are encouraged to ask themselves: “What will you gain from posting it and why will others care?”

2) Evaluate positive aspects of the situation, and learn from it.

3) Seek to convey empathy; avoid viewing the other person as the enemy.

4) Move on if necessary after truly forgiving. “By forgiving, you let go of your grievances and judgments and allow yourself to heal,” offered PSYHCOLOGY TODAY in “How Do You Forgive Even When It Feels Impossible?” “Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to continue to include the person in your life. … and forgiveness isn’t something you do for the other person.”

5) Seek professional help if necessary. Ongoing and/or traumatic circumstances are often more difficult to forgive.

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