Forgiveness is a skill that almost anyone can benefit from. This concept is taught in almost every quality anger management program and one of the well documented interventions in the Century Anger Management model of intervention. Forgiveness is, by definition “to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone) [+ obj]“. When we understand how to forgive, we actually learn how to let go of our anger and pain associated with a particular person, situation or problem.
For many people, forgiving is difficult because they have already cemented themselves in a grudge or grievance It is often hard to let go of a grudge. In many ways, grudges protect us, but they have one big fault, they do not allow us to let go and be free of the pain. The skill of forgiveness can be learned by taking an anger management class or in a well structured online anger management course.
Anger management classes who include forgiveness as a skill will discuss several important ways this tool can be applied. For example, forgiveness is not a heads or tails issue (either you forgive or you don’t). Forgiveness can be broken into several steps such as:
1. You do not have to forgive all at once, it can be an organic process that happens over time.
2. You don't have to condone what happened to you, in fact, you can let the other person know how wrong they where, but then let go of your hurt.
3. Forgiving and trusting are separate things. Trusting too quickly may be more of an indication of low self esteem. Forgiving can be happen quickly if you choose, but trusting takes seeing a change in behavior that happens over time.
4. You can forgive a person, but it doesn’t mean you need to continue a relationship with them.
5. Forgiving is is a selfish concept as the forgiving is always for you. The bi-product of forgiveness is that the other person often feels better too knowing they’ve been forgiven.
6. Sometimes you forgive without saying anything at all. There are some people that might even be offended by your suggestion of forgiveness.
7. Forgive in baby steps. Eventually you’ll be able to let go.
We use forgiveness as a skill in anger control classes because by letting go of our pain and anger we no longer carry the hurt along with us everywhere we go and every relationship we enter. Give it a try and see if you can let go too!