Step 5 – Reframing the Situation
As you continue your forgiveness journey and have begun to work through your emotional pain we come to the step which entails changing our thinking about the situation. We have begun to heal our anger and guilt, which helps us to see things differently. Once we have learned the lessons our emotions want to teach us, the reins of pain loosen. At this point of the forgiveness process, we are ready to think about the other person who needs forgiveness, and not the incident or the pain it has caused. We begin to reframe the situation in a different conceptual context. We recognize that outward appearances don’t tell the entire story of what is inside a person. This realization helps us shift our focus from ourselves to thinking about the perpetrator. We begin to ask the questions, “Why did this person behave in a certain way? What life events brought this person to do this particular act at this particular time?” When we ask these questions, we eventually recognize that a healthy and happy person would not do harm to others. Only those who are wounded themselves would continue to perpetuate suffering. That’s why our healing is important; so, we do not react from our pain, creating more pain for others.
We learn how to become more compassionate by being willing to walk in someone else’s shoes and see the world from that person’s psychological perspective. Compassion involves being open to the suffering of oneself and others in a nonjudgmental way. We are willing to look at their life events and how those events have affected them We recognize how their pain has caused them to behave in the ways we have experienced them. This may help us appreciate how lucky we have been that our life circumstances have been much better than theirs. The more you grow in compassion, the more resilient you become in dealing with painful situations and the greater your ability to transform these situations into more positive conditions. Compassion becomes a source of inner strength. As we grow in compassion and begin to develop a spiritual understanding that an outward behavior does not negate the true essence of who this person is, our commitment to the forgiveness process deepens.
For your journal exercise rewrite your story to create a “healing” story that reflects an understanding of the perpetrator. Put yourself in his or her shoes and include a description of the perpetrator and what motivated the action. Where were the wounds? What was this person’s life like that possibly led to the action? If you found that a lot of anger or resistance came up and you could not put yourself in the perpetrator’s shoes, explore that. Did a shift in your thinking take place and, if so, how did it happen? If not, journal with what is blocking you in making that shift. Describe how you can see the situation differently now.
Reflection: As you think about reframing your situation ask yourself, what are some things you can do to grow in compassion? What are your spiritual beliefs about who we are as human beings? Can these spiritual beliefs help deepen your commitment to forgive? Are you willing to consider forgiveness and, if not, what is getting in your way? Please share your thoughts on : https://www.facebook.com/7-Steps-to-Forgiveness-109220899099707/, twitter @erborris or www.linkedin.com/in/dreileenborris
As always, I am interested in hearing about your experience and welcome all your comments, so please feel free to share your thoughts on this blog. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
For more information on learning how to forgive go to “Finding Forgiveness: A 7-Step Program for Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness” by Eileen R. Borris-Dunchunstang.