by William Van Ornum, Ph.D. on
Forgiveness is a quality frequently preached about, talked about, and idealized: yet it may be very difficult to accomplish.
The National Association of Social Workers has written about the value of forgiveness and how to bring this into one’s life.
“Sometimes forgiveness is an important part of what a client wants to achieve in counseling. In order to be successful, he or she must be clear about why achieving forgiveness is important to him personally. He must overcome certain obstacles. He must also be willing to receive forgiveness himself — as needed; and then he must commit to the process required for achieving forgiveness. The result is worth all the effort spent. Energy is released from past hurts and made available in the present. New skills, learned in the process, can add to the quality of current relationships.
There may be religious beliefs of a client that require him to forgive, since all major religions teach the necessity of forgiveness. However, when forgiveness is the subject for attention in counseling the client hasn’t been able to achieve it by a simple decision. There are reasons for the difficulty. A better understanding of the nature of the hurt, the motivations of both the offender and the victim, and some understanding of why a resolution has not been achieved — all these things create a logjam of difficulty. Therefore the motivations to change the logjam must be strong. Very personal motivations must be present if the victim is going to be successfully forgiving. Here are some of those kinds of motivation:
* To have peace of mind with a dying or dead parent
* To mend a close relationship — maybe even save a marriage or regain closeness with a child
* To free energy used up by feelings (resentment, hurt, etc.) originating in the past, in order to live fully in the present.
Sometimes when no resolution is reached, the past hurt results in serious mental and emotional problems.”
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