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. Various forgiveness practices, including the nondenominational Radical Forgiveness approach 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?
- 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.
 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).
 C. Tipping, Radical Forgiveness (Louisville, CO: Sounds True, 2009).
 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.