Updated: Dec 18, 2019
By: K.L. Alston
Don’t Tie Forgiving to Forgetting – We are not designed to forget. The very nature of our existence is based upon our ability to remember. For example, have you ever heard or been told, “You have to forgive and forget?” Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. Depending on how badly someone hurt you, forgetting may not happen because a healthy brain is not wired to forget that easily. From an evolutionary perspective, the reason we remember comes down to our survival. Remembering where to find food and what danger looks like. Remembering what pain feels like so we can avoid what caused the pain in the first place the next time.
Forgiving does not take forgetting. Forgiving takes courage, mental fortitude and will power. If we tie the need to forgive our ability to forget, forgiveness will be an elusive result. So, here’s something for you to try … embrace the situation. What do I mean by embrace the situation? Uncover your pain and accept it so you can learn from it. Use the tool of cognitive reframing. The purpose of cognitive reframing is to counter negative thoughts with positive thoughts thus producing positive feelings. You can choose to let the hurtful experiences you encounter bring you down, or you can choose to embrace them and rise above them.
Understand Relationships Have Natural Conflicts – We all bring our subconscious bias into relationships. We all have experienced different events in life and these events have shaped our belief systems and decision-making. It’s important to understand that two people see things differently. You may not always agree with the position someone has taken on a particular matter and that’s totally okay. It’s the differences in the manner in which we think and the different types of experiences we bring to the table that can create the necessary growth that is needed. Embrace another’s differences and learn how to find understanding and lessons in those differences.
Listen to Understand Not to Respond – All too often there is listening to respond instead of listening understand in relationships. Both parties feel their point is more important and both points are important just not more important. I like to do and encourage what is called active listening. Active listening is having a true desire to hear and understand what the other person is saying. This incorporates the utilization of all of the senses. I want to see, hear, smell, taste and feel what the other person is saying. This helps to develop a more empathetic communication. All too often, one person hasn’t completed the sentence he/she is sharing, and the other person is already responding. Be patient with one another and be willing to hear the other person out before responding.
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