December 6, 2010

Forgiveness & Relationships - A Message from Dr. B.

Forgiveness and Building Relationships!

Do you need to forgive to heal from a wound or do you need to heal in order to forgive? I went to a conference recently entitled Anger, Forgiveness and the Healing Process. The presenter discussed how it is difficult to forgive if we have not healed from a wrongdoing. He actually went on to say that if proper steps have not been taken in order to heal; then forgiveness is difficult to achieve. Now of course; this is but his perspective based on his research, but a perspective I thought worth exploring.

Let me try to apply some examples before proceeding. You have individuals who have experienced significant trauma, abandonment, emotional hurts, and various wounds that they then carry with them to other relationships. Some may call this ‘baggage’, I prefer to call it open emotional wounds. These individuals are sometimes told that they should forgive the person who hurt them and move on. However, I wonder how often we ask that person what they need to heal (after all, we are all the expert of ourselves). If we did take the time to ask; I would imagine the need to forgive would not be one of the FIRST things noted. An apology, accountability, the acknowledgment that they were violated and that their pain has been heard with validation and without minimization may be among some of the things noted that are needed. Regardless of the situation; forgiveness is a personal and complicated choice. A choice that one cannot be told to make but one that they have to be ready to make.

Although a person has to be ready to make the choice to forgive, they also need to understand the impact that not forgiving can have on new or current relationships. Forgiveness is a process that touches on various areas of our lives (not just the specific are of hurt). I am sure it is no surprise that if we carry around unresolved hurts or ‘emotional wounds’, naturally that they will begin to wound future relationships. Hurts from childhood, parents, friends, past relationships all begin to hinder growth and progress in the development of new relationships. We begin to make our new partners the targets of our old hurts. And I am not sure that is fair – both to our partners and our relationships!

I want to be clear in saying that I am not advocating for or against forgiveness. I am advocating for a person to identify what it takes for them to heal. I am advocating for a person to decide what is important for them to heal and follow that path. I am advocating for being aware of your unresolved hurts before making loved ones and significant others targets of your pain. Where forgiveness exists along that path is for the wounded to decide. Ultimately, this process will hopefully lead to the beginning of a healthy and balanced relationship that has the clarity is needs to be successful!

For more information on Dr. Keisha Bean, click here & be sure to check out her website!

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