Around the holidays, people are always talking about forgiveness. I think there is a general misconception about what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is something that happens inside of you, for you. It's not about the other person. Forgiveness might lead to reconciliation and the healing of a relationship. Forgiveness also might lead to the ending of a relationship or firmer boundaries with someone you love.
Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Forgiveness is one person’s inner response to injustice. Reconciliation is two people coming together in mutual respect. Reconciliation requires both parties working together. Forgiveness is something that is entirely up to you. Although reconciliation may follow forgiveness, it is possible to forgive without re-establishing or continuing the relationship. The person you forgive may be deceased or no longer part of your life. You may also choose not to reconcile, perhaps because you have no reason to believe that a relationship with the other person is healthy for you.
Here are some easy steps towards forgiveness:
Remember, forgiveness is not justice. It is certainly easier to forgive someone who sincerely apologizes and makes amends. However, justice—which may include acknowledgment of the wrong, apologies, punishment, restitution, or compensation—is separate from forgiveness. You may pursue your rights for justice with or without forgiving someone. And if justice is denied, you can still choose whether or not to forgive.
It is important to forgive. It is equally important to surround yourself with healthy people who support you in becoming the person you want to be. I encourage you to forgive, not to please your family or be able to put up with that person at Christmas... but to be able to set yourself free. It truly is a gift that you can give to yourself anytime. I also encourage you to reconcile the relationships that are healthy for you, and give yourself permission to end the ones that are not.
Mindy Amita Aisling
ICF Life Coach,
NFPT Fitness Trainer,
OMA Certified Mediator
Mindy Aisling is a certified life and business coach in Bend, OR, exceeding all of the educational requirements & training set forth by the ICF.
She has worked with such organizations as St. Charles Hospital, Soroptimists, The Dispute Resolution Center, Olympic Medical Center, Americorps, and Juvenile and Family Services.
Mindy has been featured in the New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Bend Bulletin, The Peninsula Daily News, KOMO 4 TV, The Oregonian and many more. You can learn more about Mindy here.
Mindy offers professional, affordable online coaching to clients around the world, and local coaching to clients in Bend, Oregon.
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