Forgiveness and Re-Shaping
One of the more difficult challenges I face with couples is forgiveness and re-shaping: how can I forgive the years of hurt and resentment? How can I re-shape the way I see my partner and his/her role in my life?
It is very easy for us to experience the hurt and invest in the anger; it is very easy for us to invest our energies in defensive and punitive responses.
It takes a higher level of motivation, of emotion regulation, and vulnerability to let go. When we can let go and re-embrace our partners, not forgetting, but moving past the hurt, we can start the process of reconciliation – forgiving and re-shaping the relationship. This is not dismissing the hurt, it’s working through it, so partners hear our concerns, what actions and words led us to feel this way, and what we can do collaboratively to support each other in moving forward. It’s creating a new version of our relationships based on what we’ve learned doesn’t work, what we’ve learned helps us become stronger in mutuality and positive reciprocity, what we would like our relationships to become. All of this is achieved through open communication in honesty and vulnerability.
Today’s Storycorps episode may serve as a wonderful example of what can be achieved through this process. I strongly recommend listening to it, no matter the condition of your relationships. It’s a moving, motivating example of what forgiveness can do for us.