Our counseling and therapy clients can struggle with how to approach forgiveness when the other person isn’t sorry. What do you do if the other person feels no remorse? What if having contact with them puts you at risk of further harm? How about when the other person isn’t available? These situations present considerable challenges to those wishing to move forward in life.
Drawing from the work of forgiveness expert Janis Abrahms-Spring, I previously shared about other approaches to forgiveness that end up causing more harm. If you haven’t seen them yet, you can check them out here!
In this fourth video of our forgiveness series, I share about acceptance. As taught by Abrahms-Spring, acceptance is a healthy approach to forgiveness when the other person isn’t willing or available to help you heal. When it’s not safe to continue a relationship, moving toward acceptance can also be a life-affirming approach that keeps you safe. Acceptance can restore you to a sense of freedom, wholeness, empowerment, and possibility.
To learn more about this vital topic, watch our 8-minute video above, or keep reading!
When we refuse to forgive, we hold on to our hurt, our anger, and our bitterness. We stew in our feelings of hostility and resentment. But this comes at a great cost. In her book How Can I Forgive You? Janis Abrahms-Spring identifies refusing to forgive as a second approach to forgiveness.
To learn more about refusing to forgive, watch the video above or keep reading!
In this second video of our forgiveness series, we define “cheap forgiveness,” identify where it comes from, explain why cheap forgiveness doesn’t work, and describe how it can actually end up hurting you and your relationship. Watch the video above or keep reading to learn more! (If you missed it, here’s our first video introducing our series on how to forgive.)
How to Forgive: Introducing Our Forgiveness Video Series
After painful experiences, we often wonder, “How do I move on? How do I heal from all that has happened?” In my experience as a couples therapist, people sometimes tell me, “I don’t know how to forgive.”
In this 5-part video series on how to forgive, I summarize some excellent counsel from Janis Abrahms-Spring’s book How Can I Forgive You? Also, I share some of my own observations from nearly 20 years as a Marriage & Family Therapist. In the coming four videos and blog post summaries, I’ll first share some ideas about what doesn’t work. I will then share some observations about how to navigate forgiveness and relational healing in a healthy way. We need ways to approach forgiveness that allow for safety, dignity, self-respect, and authentic growth. To learn more, watch our 2-minute video above or keep reading!
I remember it like it was yesterday; my high school graduation. Hundreds of eyes were watching as each student received his or her diploma. My heart raced. I felt nervous about just walking in front of such a large crowd. I joked about tripping during the ceremony, hoping that would assure that it would NOT happen. The walking up part was successful. However, as fate would have it, the climb down the stairs from the stage proved to be my “moment.” I stumbled and fell—right into the sure hands of my principal.
Normally, I know how to walk and use stairs, but the anxious part of my brain switched “on,” causing me to feel a sense of alarm and panic just long enough to forever mark me as “the girl who tripped during graduation.” And, here I am years later, just fine and even able to laugh about it (mostly).
Most of us function with some amount of anxiety. In specific situations, a feeling of panic may even be necessary for survival. For example, if you were to see a bear while on a walk, the “flight or fight” response that bypasses rational thought to avoid any further exchange with that bear can be a very good thing!
Anxiety as an Inhibitory Emotion
Anxiety can be vital to survival, but many times it is just uncomfortable and miserable and prevents us from participating in life the way that we want. Continue reading →
When it comes to attaining our biggest dreams, we often tend to stand in our own way. Many of us lack the confidence that we believe we need in order to even begin taking steps to reach a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
The Imposter Syndrome
And even when we do begin to take risks and obtain our goals, many of us have what is called “imposter syndrome”—the feeling that we are somehow incompetent at what we do and have managed to fool everyone into getting to the position or role we are in; that we are basically a fraud.
Have you ever been angry at someone because it seemed like they were spending WAAYYY too much time with a particular thing or situation? We’re so easily frustrated by other’s coping strategies. Here are some examples: a wife who’s angry with her husband for spending too much time at work. A husband who is angry with his wife because she’s on her phone ALL the time. A son who plays video games every waking moment of the day? Or how about a daughter who hangs out with friends as much as possible, rarely spending time around the house and family? Perhaps your husband is spending A LOT of time watching sports on TV. Or maybe your wife seems to be spending way too much time exercising and going to the gym.
It’s easy to get judgmental about the behavior of others—but judging others rarely results in change, and often results in damaging our relationships.
Does marriage counseling work? You may wonder if it’s worth the effort, feeling hesitant to hope there’s a way to regain the closeness you once had. All too often, couples who come to counseling say “this has been years in the making” or “we’ve known we needed this for a long time.” In the height of disconnection, during arguments or long stints of silence, helplessness sets in and your fears emerge: Can couples counseling even help us?
Has anyone ever said this to you? Have you ever said this to anyone you know?
We typically make this statement when something happens that goes beyond our current logical understanding and comprehension about what we deem as “normal and acceptable.” Someone said or did something that we deem stupid, irrational, illogical or just plain “wrong.”
As a society and people, we need to understand some things that surround this statement and why it is ultimately unhelpful at best and psychologically harmful at worst.Continue reading →