What is Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Forgiveness is one person’s inner response to another’s perceived 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.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. “Forgive and forget” seem to go together. However, the process of forgiving involves acknowledging to yourself the wrong that was done to you, reflecting on it, and deciding how you want to think about it. Focusing on forgetting a wrong might lead to denying or suppressing feelings about it, which is not the same as forgiveness. Forgiveness has taken place when you can remember the wrong that was done without feeling resentment or a desire to pursue revenge. Sometimes, after we get to this point, we may forget about some of the wrongs people have done to us. But we don’t have to forget in order to forgive.

Forgiveness is not condoning or excusing. Forgiveness does not minimize, justify, or excuse the wrong that was done. Forgiveness also does not mean denying the harm and the feelings that the injustice produced. And forgiveness does not mean putting yourself in a position to be harmed again. You can forgive someone and still take healthy steps to protect yourself, including choosing not to reconcile.

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.

Forgiveness is a powerful choice you can make when it’s right for you that can lead to greater well-being and better relationships.

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How to find strength within yourself

Finding strength within yourself can increase your positive feelings of self-worth about life and the people around you. It can give you the motivation you need to finish a project at work, help a friend in need or promote balance in your own life. Inner strength can be challenging to find, especially during dark times in your life. However, you can find motivation in the world around you, channeling those experiences into a strength you can use to motivate yourself.

Here are a few steps that I have come up with in order to help you find your inner strength.

1.Determine any factors holding you back from being a stronger person. Create a list of character flaws you observe in yourself. Ask friends and family for input if you are unable to come up with this list. Lack of trust, indecisiveness and low self-esteem are a few characteristics that can lead to lack of strength.

2. Create a list of character strengths to build upon and increase your inner strength. Acknowledging your existing positive traits can build up your self-esteem, a key component to an increase in inner strength.

3.Develop a personal mantra for everyday use to increase your self-worth and strength within yourself. Say, “I am strong, I can succeed” or “Everyday is a new opportunity for success” to motivate yourself to find and use your inner strength. Write the mantra down and hang it several places around your house, such as your bathroom mirror or refrigerator door, to see before leaving the house for the day.

4. Recall times in your life when you felt or acted strongly. Remembering times when you used inner strength in the past can help you rekindle those feelings in your current self. For example, a friend may have turned to you in crisis and you helped her through. This is indicative of someone finding and using strength within.

5. Strive to emulate people who exercise inner strength on a daily basis. Talk to friends and family whom you admire and ask how they channel inner strength. Use their guidance as a model for you own life.

6. Try yoga or other meditative exercise practices. Yoga combines deep breathing, stretching and physical poses to achieve flexibility, balance and inner strength. Practice yoga or meditation on a daily basis to continue channeling your strength within. (Or even something as simple as writing your thoughts down in a quiet place)