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Signs of forgiveness

March 2, 2011

What Experts Say…


“How do you know if you’ve forgiven someone? It’s when you have experienced a shift in thinking, such that your desire to harm that person has decreased and your desire to do him good (or to benefit your relationship) has increased.” (Sonja Lyubomirsky, leading research psychologist, in her book, The How of Happiness. p 171)

In Other Words…


When we have not forgiven someone, we wish that person ill. We want to punish him or her, and the impact on the relationship is predictable. The victim of our anger is likely to feel misunderstood and likely to develop resentment for us. Accusation grows and the relationship wilts.


There are times when a relationship must end because it is so destructive. But most of the time for most of us, forgiveness is the key to sustaining healthy relationships. We will hurt and offend each other. But, as we forgive each other, we learn to be both more compassionate and more wise.



How This Applies to You…


Who do you need to forgive in your life? Find ways to let go of past hurts and forgive the person who hurt you. This might be easier if you can find something good that came of the hurtful experience. Maybe the pain you went through made you stronger or changed the way you look at things. Maybe it will help you forgive the person if you can try to understand the life story of the person who hurt you.


To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on see The Personal Journey or Managing Stress: Turning Challenges into Blessings at Arkansas Families.

For further reading, we recommend The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky

  1. Rebecca permalink
    March 10, 2011 8:22 pm

    This posting made me think of a transformative time in my life when I discovered that I needed to forgive myself and someone close to me that hurt me to move on in my life. I was at a spiritual retreat trying to renew and refresh my battered spirit and was completing a journaling assignment in solitude near a pond. The pond was almost completely empty of water and there was heavy equipment in the boggy pond bottom. In the empty pond there were tree stumps that had been cut 2 or 3 feet above the pond bottom.. A caretaker for the grounds walked by and I asked him what what was going on with the pond. He said, “They have to GET THE STUMPS OUT. The water is leaching out of the bottom of the pond through the rotting roots of the tree stumps.” I found myself writing “GET THE STUMPS OUT” in my journal. I stared at it a good while and then it came to me. I needed to GET THE STUMPS OUT OF MY LIFE to refill and refresh my spirit. I asked myself what were the stumps in my life. I decided that one was to forgive myself for my failures. Another was to forgive another person who had hurt me. In that moment I could feel myself getting better. I shared it with fellow retreat participants and again felt better. It was a life changing moment for me that I will recall often when I feel battered by life or someone. I am thankful for this posting that reminded me of this important event in my life.

  2. Ashley Winberry permalink
    March 10, 2011 9:33 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! We all need reminders to get the stumps our of our lives from time to time.

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