I have always heard that “forgiveness is the key to all things, and to be forgiven is a blessing.” The willingness to forgive is a very difficult decision to make and once a person decides to forgive, it closes one door and opens another, and how the relationship ends up is always different. To be the one who is forgiven is a heavy burden that has been lifted off of one's back. Even though a person may be forgiven, this does not always imply things will be the same. What is forgiveness, what comes out of forgiveness, are things better or are things over, does it mean things are forgotten or does it mean ones behavior has been condoned/excused, there are many questions that arise? No matter how you look at forgiveness, whether you are the one who is being forgiven or is the one who is forgiving, it is still an essential part of communicating with another human being and it is a vital part of any healthy interpersonal relationships. We are defined by our relationships and the way we communicate with each other, and part of this communication needs to be forgiveness. According to Pavica, Gilchrist-Petty, and Lessley, “Willingness to forgive is one of the most important factors contributing to healing and restoring damaged relationships.” They also believe that "forgiveness creates for positive communications,” mainly between married and dating couples. But I believe that forgiveness, positive communications goes way beyond just even couples. Forgiveness is a need in daily life, when communicating with others in general. Generally both parties get something out of the forgiveness process and according to Adler, Rosenfeld, and Proctor, social scientist have found “that by forgiving others, it has both personal and relational benefits,” (p 306). Indeed, I have found both of these to be very true for my own self. In my opinion forgiveness, has to do with a person deciding to make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings, such as bitterness, resentment, anger, betrayal. In fact, negative feelings towards another person who may have caused harm to one usually end up hurting oneself. Forgiveness is the decision made by the person who was harmed, regardless if the other person deserved it or not. In effect, it is a conscious decision by the harmed person to set aside the perceived injury and prevent further harm. When one is forgiving a person, neither does it mean one has forgotten what the other has done nor does it mean one has just accepted, excused or condoned the other's behavior or actions. It just simply means that the person who is forgiving another’s transgressions, is trying to relieve any bad feelings towards the other person who has offended and by forgiving that offender it allows the forgiver to feel a sense of peace. When forgiving a person, this also does not mean a person has to keep a relationship with that other person, but if they chose to, then this is the first step moving towards healing and restoring one's broken relationship. There has been a time when I needed forgiveness for something I had done, and it was when I cheated on my now husband. I had just got out of a divorce with my ex-husband Matthew and was not ready to fully commit again to another man, because I still had some unsure feelings about my ex-husband. I had just started sort of seeing this guy named Matt, but we had not made it official yet. Looking at our relationship objectively, many would have thought we were already a couple, and indeed, in his case, he felt as if we were already a couple by the ways we were acting. I ended up going back out one night with my ex-husband, just to see if the feelings were the same and if we could reconnect. Needless to say, the feelings were not the same when we hugged and kissed, but I still went out with him that night and acted as if we were still married. When Matthew, my now husband, had found out, he was...
Cited: Adler R, Rosenfeld, L., & Proctor, R. (2012). Interplay: The process of interpersonal communication. 12th Edition. Oxford Press.
Sheldon, Pavica, Eletra Gilchrist-Petty, and James Adam Lessley. "You Did What? The Relationship Between Forgiveness Tendency, Communication Of Forgiveness, And Relationship Satisfaction In Married And Dating Couples." Communication Reports 27.2 (2014): 78-90. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.
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