Forgiveness Factor: Boundaries -- Moving Forward
Last week, we considered how boundaries can help give us space to consider forgiveness. What about after we have decided to forgive?
Boundaries can help us practice forgiveness.
If you are anything like me, your unforgiveness and bitterness didn't just start today. It has built up over time. My struggles with boundaries have also built up over time. Please give yourself the gift of time to practice forgiveness and practice boundary setting. It is possible you will not get it right the first time.
When you choose to forgive someone, you are choosing to change the way you talk about them, think about them and act toward them. You are choosing to offer goodness to someone who has hurt you. When you are choosing to set boundaries, you are choosing to change the way you interact with someone. Change takes time. Setting boundaries can help us take small steps in forgiveness.
When you have worked through the process of forgiveness, you will be ready to offer goodness to the person who hurt you instead of anger or indifference. Start small. One first step might be to not talk poorly about the person to others. A next step might be a card or a note--some sort of acknowledgement. Then maybe it's an invitation to get together and talk.
When we begin to choose to forgive, we might need to set small boundary steps as well. Maybe we can call each other, but start with a short time limit. Maybe we can meet, but I will bring a friend. Maybe we can talk, but any discussion of money is not allowed. Setting small boundaries as we work small steps of kindness can help us succeed.
Forgiveness and reconciliation
Just a quick reminder that forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. You can forgive someone and not reconcile with them--they may have passed away, they may not want to be reconciled with you, they may be continuing in a harmful lifestyle that you don't need to be a part of. Reconciliation involves both parties wanting to restore a relationship. You can still forgive and you can still offer them mercy and goodness without reconciling.
Finally, we may need to set boundaries on our own thoughts and actions as part of forgiving ourselves. More on that later.
Forgiveness precedes reconciliation“When people reconcile, they come together again in mutual trust following a division caused by at least one person’s unfairness. In my view, giving and receiving forgiveness precede genuine reconciliation, otherwise remnants of resentment can make people stand a bit to one side and not enter into a relationship as before.”
(Robert Enright, Forgiveness is a Choice, p. 263)
Posted June 2, 2020 at https://www.facebook.com/internationalforgiveness
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