Free your conscience with forgiveness

How to forgive and know you've forgiven someone.

little girl apologizes to the offended boy

little girl apologizes to the offended boy

We’re all human – me and you. Wrongdoings happen every day and are committed by every person, everywhere—even when we try to be consistently honest or kind. Mistakes can range from accidents or unintentional slips of the tongue to ignorance, manipulation, and a pattern of injustice and pain designed to continually hurt. Either offended party suffers emotional pain, distress, and fear that over time manifest into anxiety, depression, and hostility – then we live with anger, guilt, and fear of the consequences. Releasing this pain, freeing your conscience, often starts with forgiveness.

The Forgiveness Process.[1] Various forgiveness practices, including the nondenominational Radical Forgiveness approach[2] are discussed; these practices can allow one to clear their conscience of guilt, shame, anger and/or negativity, allowing one’s inner self to thrive. Regardless of whether you perceive your model of forgiveness to be spiritual, religious, or another process, full forgiveness contains the following elements:

  • Retelling what happened to an empathetic listener;
  • Acknowledging all the feelings and consequences that stem from the incident;
  • Making a conscious choice to reframe a previously negative perspective into a constructive open-minded scenario (to either change your perspective, acknowledge both sides or more than your perception, or note how the situation could fit into a larger reality);
  • Releasing the offender(s) and offense(s) of all blame so that you are no longer a victim and the offender is no longer evil, thereby fully clearing your conscience; and,
  • Fully embracing the release by living with a positive, open spirit.

The Radical Forgiveness Worksheet can be downloaded from Tipping’s website (http://colingtipping.com) along with useful resources. The worksheet walks you through the entire forgiveness process, including an ending acknowledgment that the experience contributed to building your spiritual intelligence. It works. Try it.

How do you know you’ve forgiven someone?[3]

  • The First Thought Test: You no longer think of the wrongdoing as your first thought about this person.
  • The Help Test: You would help the other person if needed.
  • The General Thought Test: You can generate good thoughts about the other person, perhaps easily recalling some good times.
  • The Revenge Test: You no longer want to hurt the other person.
  • The Failure Test: You no longer want the other person to fail.

More? See the Wellness Compass Travel Guide website page about the importance of having a clear conscience, the Wellness Compass book and  Activity 4. Cleanse and nurture your conscience from the book.

Sources

[1] Forgiveness in the Wellness Compass model is based on Western models of forgiveness that are not based on any religious belief: The Enright Process Model of Forgiveness, Available on June 10, 2016, at https://couragerc.org/wp-content/uploads/Enright_Process_Forgiveness_1.pdf; Tipping’s Radical Forgiveness book and online resources (www.radicalforgiveness.com); and the 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse by Betty Ford (2009).

[2] C. Tipping, Radical Forgiveness (Louisville, CO: Sounds True, 2009).

[3] Ron Edmonson, “Five ways to tell if you’ve forgiven someone,” 2015, retrieved on June 10, 2016, from http://www.ronedmondson.com/2015/08/5-ways-to-tell-if-youve-forgiven-someone.html

Do you need to forgive yourself or someone else?  If so, try out one of the suggestions above and then comment back about the experience.  We can all learn from each others’ experiences.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Free your conscience with forgiveness

  1. I re-read the “The Radical Forgiveness Invocation” over and over again to try to reflect on its application. Here it is:

    “May we all stand firm in the knowledge and comfort that all things are now, have always been, and forever will be in divine order, unfolding according to a divine plan. And may we truly surrender to this truth whether we understand it or not. May we also ask for support in consciousness in feeling our connection with the divine part of us, with everyone and with everything, so we can truly say and feel — we are ONE. ”

    I know several people who are so stuck on the past nasty tratment of their parent and they just can not seem to move forward in their life even after 50 or 60 years ! There is so much blame , resentment and hard feelings towards their parents. The Radical Forgiveness Invocation might work , but one must truly believe that there is a divine order and a divine plan for us all. If one has not committed to this belief they will continually drown in resentment it would seem.

    • Yes! How you apply forgiveness in your life is really up to you and I agree that if you believe in a spiritual forgiveness approach and a Divine being/plan/forgiveness it is the approach you should use. However, the Radical Forgiveness is amazingly effective in help the offended release their pent up pain and frustration and really looking at the possibility that their is/was an alternate possibility to why the situation occurred and how it can/did contribute to your personal growth.

      I do agree that as we age it is easier to “drown in resentment” – that the weight of the offenses we’ve made and received be “a ball and chain” that holds us back from abundant life and happiness. This is exactly why the “Cleaning of the Conscience”/forgiveness is a goal of the Wellness Compass, and why we have to continually work to maintain a clear conscience to reach our potential.