Becoming Peaceful through Forgiveness Part 4: Skills for the Journey

susy-and-fatherI gave a speech at my Dad’s 80th birthday recently. So many people had said to me ‘you must be so proud of your Dad’ that I had to set aside my angst and really think about him. I surprised myself with how much good stuff I could come up with. We are all complex, contradictory and confusing, so it really just comes down to a choice we need to make about what to focus on.

I hope you’ve found this series on forgiveness useful. For a little more inspiration, I’ll leave you with ‘The Forgiveness Toolbox’ which was developed in conjunction with The Forgiveness Project. It outlines seven sets of skills for forgiving. They’re not exhaustive or prescriptive, nor even sequential, but are meant to be tangibly helpful strategies.

I provide a quick summary with some inspirational quotes below and you can explore more at http://theforgivenesstoolbox.com/

GOING BEYOND UNDERSTANDING

  • The skill of making sense of one’s suffering; a researching & learning phase

“Nothing is easier than to condemn the evildoer, nothing is harder than to understand him” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

EMPATHY

  • The skill of putting oneself into someone else’s shoes without judgement

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” – Atticus in To Kill A Mocking Bird

CURIOSITY & COURAGE

  • The skill of looking beyond yourself

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore” – Andre Gide

BUILDING BRIDGES BORN OUT OF SUFFERING

  • The skill of relating to another person’s pain

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

ACCEPTING PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY

  • The skill of locating the ‘I’ and the ‘We’ in the suffering

“The gunman and his family are victims too. Perhaps victims of the society we have responsibility for” – Andrea LeBlanc, (lost husband in 9/11) commenting on Boston bombings 

RECOVERING FROM RESENTMENT

  • The skill of letting go of anger and bitterness

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies” – Anon

letting-go-kite

RESISTING CONFORMITY

  • The skill of finding your own path

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that has ever happened” – Margaret Mead

*Featured image by Kathryn Siveyer 

4 thoughts on “Becoming Peaceful through Forgiveness Part 4: Skills for the Journey

  1. Penny Rankin says:

    So inspiring, I need to do it for me. A little bit each day till it becomes a habit. Strange that we know what to do but the mind is a stranger sometimes, it loves to keep us trapped in self pity and self righteous anger, harming only ourselves. No more for me.

    Like

    1. The Peace Architect says:

      Thanks, Penny. Great reminder that this is a slow process that can be built into habit over time. It can be our hope that our minds and hearts become moved by our efforts to become more forgiving toward others and ourselves.

      Like

  2. Jay says:

    “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow This is one of my favourite quotes. I often have to remind myself that even your enemy, the person you despise the most, who seeks to defeat you in some way, also has an equal right to a happy life.

    Like

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