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5 Myths about Forgiveness

The only time we think about forgiveness is when we’ve been hurt. Not just the little twinge type but when we are betrayed, taken advantage of, or lied to. Those heart wrenching hurts. When forgiveness is mentioned it brings up a lot of different beliefs because it is intertwined with the pain.

Here are 5 myths about the forgiveness.

1. I MUST Forgive.

Even as I write that statement it is heavy with obligation. It demands that there is obedience and somehow, we are wrong if we struggle with forgiving the person who wronged us. Forgiveness brings freedom as it is a choice. When you choose to forgive, it is not a duty to be performed but a gift.

2. Forgive and Forget.

Our brains are designed to store information. To forget goes against that natural function. Forgiveness is about saying I’m going to release the hold the pain has over me. It does not remove the memory.

3. Forgiveness Equals Trust.

This one goes along with forgive and forget. There is a belief that forgiveness means that you must trust the one that hurt you again. Trust is a meter. When you meet someone, you start building trust and then each interaction determines if you are adding or subtracting to how much you trust them. When someone betrays you, that flatlines the trust. Choosing to forgive does not automatically pump that back up. The meter still reflects where you are and if there are continued interactions with that person then the trust could build or decline.

4. Forgiveness is Conditional.

The betrayer must pay! This is the idea that there must be some action or pain experienced by the person who wronged you before you can contemplate forgiveness. Forgiveness is not about the receiver. It is about the giver. Withholding forgiveness does not inflict pain on the person or remove their consequences. Forgiveness lets the poison of bitterness, anger and resentfulness out of you so that you can heal.

5. Forgiveness Equals Reconciliation.

“I have to take him (her) back if I forgive”. This is a stumbling block that can prevent forgiveness from happening. Reconciliation is a choice that is dependent on forgiveness, but forgiveness does not mean that you have to reconcile. These are two different questions. Contemplating if you are ready to seek reconciliation is dependent on the trust level not the forgiveness.

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do and it is part of the healing process. If you are finding that bitterness, resentfulness and/or anger have a hold on you, it is time to heal. We are here to help you, call for your appointment today.


Registered Psychotherapist

519-601-HELP (4357)

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