It is often a challenge for guys to make an effort to reconcile when their pride has been bruised.
Not long ago, I was watching a television program where the topic was forgiveness. Like many talk shows, there was a panel of individuals, the host, psychologists and mental health experts to provide their expertise to the aggrieved group of men who had been hurt or betrayed by another person.
Accounts of child abuse, infidelity, attempted rape, violence, financial theft, cold and distant fathers, abandonment at youth, etc were among the stories recounted from the men as they either exposed or dredged up unpleasant memories that had occurred at some point in their lives. One caught his wife in bed with his so-called best friend. Another was the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of an older relative.
As one can imagine, some of these stories were difficult to listen to. Truth be told, any reasonable person could understand why the victims of such vile transgressions at the hands of unscrupulous human beings would be unable or unwilling to forgive such atrocious behavior. This is where the psychologists and specialists stepped in.
Each mental health expert made the case, in varied terms, that it was crucial for each of these individuals to make a valiant effort to reach a level of peace from what had occurred in their lives. Not toward the perpetrators of such misdeeds, but rather, for their own physical and mental health.
Interestingly, the majority of guys did not contest the advice given to them. They agreed that taking such an approach was likely to be the most effective path as they attempted to navigate through their personal dilemmas. While am I not a psychologist, I have been the victim of mistreatment and betrayal. It was not a pleasant experience. Feelings of anger, hate, imagined violence and other emotions consumed my inner soul. Life was indeed traumatic at times. Fortunately for me, my better angels managed to prevail and I was able to largely move on from such deep seeded feelings of resentment. I was much better for it.
While the act of forgiving is great in theory, in reality, it is more complex and difficult to do.
The fact is:
- Forgiveness is not the same as reconciling
- We can forget another human being even if we never get along or become friends with him or her again.
- Forgiving is critical to our emotional health
- By refusing to forgive someone, we are choosing to harbor all the bitterness and anger that their actions have created. Rather, we hold onto such anger and allow it to fester inside, unhealthy eating at our soul. This is unhealthy.
- We can learn from past experiences
- The old saying “experience is the best teacher” is often true. We need to take what we can, be mindful of the lesson and move on with or without the person who wronged us. Just because we forgive someone does not mean we have to keep them in our lives. Sometimes in such cases, we can learn something about ourselves.
- Forgiveness does mean forgetting
- It is normal for memories to be triggered in the future. When thoughts of past slights occur, it is what we do with them that counts.
- Forgiving can strengthen our relationships
- Many (not all) relationships can be restored, even deepen and thrive, not in spite of what happened in the past, but because of it. The act of forgiveness can possibly strengthen people’s commitment to a healthy relationship. It could also cause the offending party to become more committed to not allowing divisive conflicts to occur in the future.
- Forgiveness starts with a mental decision
- The emotional part of forgiveness is finally being able to let go of the resentment. Emotional healing may or not quickly follow after we forgive.
- Freedom is forgiveness:
- From a psychological standpoint, forgiveness can be one of the healthiest acts a person can engage in.
The fact is there are a plethora of reasons why forgiveness can be beneficial.
Given that many men have some degree of pride, it is often a challenge for guys to make an effort to reconcile when their pride has been bruised. It just does not come that easy. Nonetheless, it is better when ever possible, to forgive, forget, and move on. It makes you a better person, both emotionally and psychologically.
The Charleston nine lost family members and loved ones at the hands of a deluded White supremacist, Dylann Strom Roof. They set an example by openly confronting this monster of a human being and offering him their forgiveness. This act should serve as a remarkable and shining example to us all.
In the long run, hate, and resentment only hurts the hater. Besides, forgiveness is not only an act of emotional sign of maturity, it is a true sign of being MANLY!
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