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Friday, June 10, 2011

Another "F" Word

Some of the offline reactions I received about my June 7 posting called "Repelling Toxic People" have reminded me how really difficult it can be to forgive.

In the early 90's I did a lot of training on stress management. My preparation for that training involved an immersion in the literature where I quickly noticed several strategies for coping that were repeatedly suggested. One of those coping strategies was "Be quick to forgive". It was easy for me to remember this and to remind students but not so easy for people to actually do. I noticed women seemed to have more difficulty forgiving themselves than men did; I didn't discern a noticeable difference with respect to which gender was more willing to forgive others. Although these were my own un-scientific observations, my view has not changed much since. And like many others, I also struggle with this "F" word.

 D Patrick Miller's "A Little Book of Forgiveness" (1994) is the most helpful book I've uncovered on this subject. What resources or tools have you discovered to help you? I've got one person in my life who unknowingly helps me mark my growth with forgiveness. When I fully forgive this person, I will know I've evolved a bit. Then, I'll have to forgive myself for holding onto that poison for as long as I have.   

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