I’ve been thinking. Falling prey to unforgiveness is like death by a thousand papercuts. It can start with just one moment or interaction where offense and hurt have occurred. And without the choice to forgive and move forward, a slow and painful process begins. So what’s the alternative? The good news is that it only takes one better choice the next time offense presents itself. What will you choose? You can forgive your way to freedom that lasts. Here’s some help. >>
Forgiveness: An Important Moment Turned into a Healthy Habit
Difficult people tend to say things that are difficult to hear and do things that are difficult to process. For instance, they say things that may not have a shred of truth to them. Or what they say may have just enough truth to really sting and cause negative emotions to rise up within you. Negative emotions demand action on your part. So what do you do at that moment where a decision is required? Do you cave to the pressure and get trapped in a downward spiral of damaging decisions?
We’ve all done it. We’ve all felt the pull of hurt and offense during critical moments where we could actually choose another path. Just living life with people offers up an endless number of opportunities to become disappointed, frustrated, hurt, offended or angry. But why are these emotions so powerful? And how do you overpower them with something even stronger? The answers to these questions are revealed through a solid understanding of how we’ve each been made on the inside.
You see, we act out of who we are because that’s who we think it is best to be. So our inner design (or InnerKinetics®) shapes not only our lives but our thoughts, desires, actions, and non-actions. It’s the world where we nurse our grievances. Your inner design even directs the path you must travel to find positive emotions to overpower the negative emotions that cause unforgiveness! Forgiving is hard for many in the best of times. But follow the urges and preferences of your inner design and you’ll be doing the things that you’re naturally empowered to do. This turns forgiveness from a gut-wrenching struggle to a healthy habit.
Ready to adopt the healthy habit of forgiveness? Step 1:
How do YOU forgive your way to freedom?
Now that you know your InnerKinetics, let’s consider Step 2: What you need to know because of your InnerKinetics. We each forgive with the use of different strengths that are innate to our own inner design. And if you can learn to choose forgiveness as often as needed, you can stay free.
According to a compelling guide by Dr. Ray W. Lincoln called, “BREAK FREE,” we can each forgive without sacrificing our strong feelings and values — provided we understand forgiveness correctly and use the strengths we’ve been given.
What’s your way to forgive?
Are you an optimistic, light-hearted SP?
Because you “move on” easier and more naturally than others, your ability to “let it go” (which is one of your strengths) is where you need to focus and you need to depend upon this strength when faced with having to forgive.
SPs understand what letting it go feels like. Focus on the events of the present and don’t reach back into the past to relive it. Let the emotion of optimism overpower any negative emotions attempting to keep you down.
Are you a cautious, concerned SJ?
Forgiveness is a decision. Once made, you can then work it out in a process of actions that follow the decision. An SJ is naturally connected to the past because of the lessons they learn there. To forgive, they must force themselves to release that connection to the past and choose instead the discipline and management of their emotions.
Ask yourself, “What’s my highest value that I want to preserve?” Then act according to that value. Even if the one who offended you hasn’t admitted any fault, your ability to forgive can proceed without it.
Are you a calm, logical NT?
Forgiveness, for the NT, requires strategy. And forgiveness is an important STRATEGY for life. NTs seek to have clear minds. A mind full of ill will is not free of the clutter of hurt and cannot operate efficiently. Forgiveness is, therefore, a task in taking care of your valuable mind.
Use your determination to replace your negative emotions of hurt, anger or bitterness with positive, helpful emotions that re-engage your strengths. Get back to the business of being who you are.
Are you an emotional, sensitive NF?
NFs are so emotional that sometimes they forget they are equally logical. Their ability to reason is a gift from God to be exercised and trained for battle on the field of personal hurt. Because the integrity of an NF insists on being reasonable, an NF must first pause and let logic catch up to emotion. Then, rather than nursing your hurt, use your strength of empathy to try understanding the offender.
Remember, you’re not looking to excuse the offensive behavior. You are instead using your strengths to overpower and replace the negative emotions with the positive ones you generate when using your strengths. To forgive brings the best of feelings and a return to the harmony that all NFs truly crave.
Break Out, Be Free
Forgive your way to freedom and stay free. It’s clear that we must have a plan in place for two different forgiveness scenarios.
SCENARIO 1 – FORGIVING YOUR WAY TO FREEDOM: You can escape from the unforgiveness that’s kept you chained to the past. To follow the path that your inner design reveals is the best way forward.
Beyond the tips offered in this article for each of the inner designs, help is found in the “BREAK FREE” book. There is SO much more you need to understand about the path to forgiveness.
SCENARIO 2 – FORGIVENESS AS A LIFESTYLE: Developing a lifestyle of forgiveness starts with the moment you feel offended or hurt. It is then that you must decide whether you will hold onto those emotions and become offended or hurt.
Stay tuned next week as we explore how a lifestyle of forgiveness keeps you free.