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The Practice of Forgiveness

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Conflict is a way of life. It’s more common than not and oftentimes it’s left only partially resolved. In general, we’ve come to accept that not all issues are worth addressing, and so we’ve gained comfort with letting most things go.

However, there are sometimes when conflict runs too deep because feelings were disregarded, personal convictions were over-expressed, or values were trampled. In these instances, an apology and acceptance of it is often the only way to move forward. The key here is that resolution takes both sides coming to agreement on the exact moment that things got out of hand—with acknowledgment that it went too far. We call this act, forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a unique skill that when practiced, is mutually beneficial to both the one that provides it and the one that receives it. At its core, forgiveness is about giving permission. Permission to be oneself, permission to error—and most importantly—permission to learn and grow, together. Over time, the practice of forgiveness helps us to build resilience, trust, and understanding. Understanding that things are meant to go wrong and that that’s okay. Over time, we also evolve to learn that it’s within our human condition to repair and rebuild.

In this insightful video How To Forgive from The School of Life, we learn that to forgive, is to understand each person’s actions come from complex origins. That the way we present ourselves and our positions is rarely as straightforward as it first seems. In that sense, forgiveness takes time. It often means having to walk directly into the emotional chaos that we’re actively trying to avoid.

It might be with another person. Perhaps it’s a recent event or a past situation. It could even be within yourself. In any case, most of us have unresolved conflict somewhere, with someone, about something that could use a little forgiveness. This week we encourage you to put thought into the benefits of forgiveness and determine what you’d miss out on by not practicing it regularly.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

– Mark Twain

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