Category Archives: Uncategorized

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“I have understood that I can’t stay with this pain: I want to learn to Forgive.”

Peace Table

At the end of the Peace Table, participants received a pot of earth, seeds and a paper flower with motivational sayings. Picture: @ PeaceWomen Across the Globe.

War devastates. War kills. War tears apart the fabric of society often shredding it to pieces. Rebuilding a society is a complex and painstaking process not to be taken lightly. Often it is the most vulnerable people in our society, the women, children and elderly who suffer most. And often it is the women who come together in the search for peace to talk about forgiveness.

In the very complex political landscape that has emerged following over fifty years of conflict, Colombia has taken steps towards what can be considered the building blocks of a political forgiveness process. Work is being done on an individual and community level through a number of programs some of which include the Foundation for Reconciliation and on a national level as well through the “Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition” which is tasked with constructing a historical truth from the stories of millions of victims. This has reinvigorated hope among victims for healing their long-held traumas.

The Colombian “Commission for the Clarification of the Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition” is partnering with an organization, PeaceWomen Across the Globe and its Peace Table program.  The Peace Table program creates spaces in which women can talk to one another and provides opportunities for voices to be heard and ensures that women become part of the peace process and that their experiences are not being forgotten. Their stories are powerful and as women shared their experiences of pain and suffering, they also speak of what they did to survive. In Columbia part of Peace Table experience is walking through a dense forest helping women re-experiencing nature and re-awakening memories. The group stopped at a tree where they saw a yellow note attached to it. It said, “I have understood that I can’t stay with this pain; I want to learn to forgive.” The women recognized the importance of this message and the kind of healing only forgiveness can bring.

At the end of the Peace table each woman received a pot of earth, seeds and a paper flower with motivational sayings which is what the picture above shows us. (@ PeaceWomen Across the Globe.)They also learned that they could talk about their pain and suffering, that forgiveness was about their inner healing, and that they could forgive which did not mean they would forget and at the same time have inner peace.


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The Political Forgiveness Chronicles

Berlin, Germany, 2018-03-14: German President Frank Walter Steinmeier speaks to the new cabinet members of the new build German Government at Schloss Bellevue in Berlin

To all my readers I am beginning to write the political forgiveness chronicles to help those interested in political forgiveness understand the meaning of what political forgiveness is and how to use it in the healing of nations.

Political forgiveness is different than interpersonal forgiveness in that it involves groups of people who have suffered at the hands of other groups of people. Clearly not everyone in a wronged group can be healed of their anger and have gone through a mourning process yet groups can heal. It is helpful that people on an individual level have had experiences with interpersonal forgiveness and have experienced the power of forgiveness for this begins to build a platform for group forgiveness to take place.

As the term political forgiveness implies, working with groups of people is very important in a political forgiveness process. I will be talking about how different groups of people have gone through their healing process and how their work can reach a national level where the structures that were in place which support violence can be changed to structures which support peace.

Everyone who plants a seed of forgiveness on any of these levels, individual, community or nationally begins to build a culture based in political forgiveness. Just last week the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke at the commemoration ceremony of the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II in Wielun, Poland, Sunday, September 1st, 2019. He expressed deep remorse for the suffering his nation inflicted on Poland and the rest of Europe during World War II, as world leaders gathered in the country where the war started at incalculable costs.

Steinmeier expressed his sorrow over the mass killings Adolf Hitler’s regime committed in Poland. The German president expressed gratitude to Poles for the gestures of forgiveness Poland has bestowed in return. “I bow in mourning to the suffering of the victims.” Steinmeier said. “I ask for forgiveness for Germany’s historical debt. I affirm our lasting responsibility.” The German president went on to speak about the dangers of nationalism and described European unity as a guarantee for peace in the future.

The acknowledgement of the wrongs committed by Nazis Germany had a great impact on those attending the meeting. Not only did Steinmeier’s words serve in a healing capacity, they served as a reminder that “turning a blind eye is not the recipe for preserving peace. It is a simple way to embolden aggressive personalities and gives consent to further attacks.”

The unity he speaks about is what political forgiveness gives to all those who support a political forgiveness process. This is where its power lies. When people unite and own the past,   we become stronger and together we heal creating a society and a world built on peace instead of war.

 

 


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The Arizona Educational Crisis and the Promise of Dialogue

Category : Uncategorized

With schools back in session after the #RedforEd walk-out, and the summer vacation just a few days away in most districts, the intensity of the Arizona education movement has relaxed into a steady hum of hope for the future and a grateful sigh for the respite of summer break.

On May 1, during the heat of the #RedforEd campaign, Thunderbird School of Global Management’s Dr. Eileen Borris facilitated a dialogue sponsored by Athena Valley of the Sun which was a collaborative effort of Arizona women’s groups concerned about the future of education in Arizona.

The goal of the dialogue was to discover the opportunities and apprehensions people have concerning what is happening to the education system in Arizona. Dr. Borris, a licensed psychologist and expert in peacebuilding and political forgiveness, was called on to help members of the community express their feelings on this very controversial issue and share their perceptions of the problems that affect the future of education in Arizona. The purpose was not to come to a consensus of agreement nor to determine which viewpoint was “right.” Rather, the purpose was to discover the richness of diverse perceptions that emerge from group discussion and create a shared meaning through inquiry and reflection.

“I wanted to make sure everyone in the room felt safe, had a voice and listened deeply to one another,” Dr. Borris says. “It was important that everyone learned something new, something they never thought about before. here is a big difference between a debate and a dialogue—and with this dialogue, the participants really heard one another and were affected by one another in a very positive way.”

The dialogue was as diverse as the participants who attended. People agreed that the issue about how to restore funding and improve education in Arizona was more complex than they thought. Some felt there was a lack of inclusiveness in solving the issue, while others felt that a lack of respect for the teaching profession was why more was not being done. Concerns were also expressed about retaining and developing passionate teachers when, under the current paradigm, teachers and schools are not being supported financially and otherwise. Participants called for strong leadership who demonstrate passion and vision that can drive change.

Dialogue participants also discussed several systemic issues which impact education, such as the economic future of the state, housing, poverty and the need to look at the situation holistically. The greatest concern raised was that individuals who need education the most are being left behind.

“I was very touched by the care and commitment around the room–and that it wasn’t just teachers speaking,” Dr. Borris says. “The dialogue involved concerned citizens from all walks of life.”

The group spent a great deal of time focusing on the issues of finance, as well as the fact that there are no businesses supporting education and there is a constant fight every year for funds. Participants agreed that there was a substantial need for more transparency involving budgets, goals and funding. What people were really hoping for is a more inclusive and positive political experience between politicians and educators, particularly so that teachers wouldn’t have to work multiple jobs to stay in the classroom.

The participants also wanted to see psychologically safe environments for learning where no child is lost to violence. They hoped that businesses would step up and adopt a school or take up other kinds of partnering with public schools to make them a better place for learning. The overall hope was that the classroom would produce lifelong learners so, as they grow into adults, children’s learning would continue to grow beyond the classroom.

“The question is, do we want to pay now or later,” Borris says. “Our society is changing and the needs of our children and youth have changed. Schools are not keeping up with the social, behavioral and technological changes taking place—and this is hurting the educational system. Our youth are incredibly important; they are our future and we need to invest in them. If we don’t invest in them now, our society will have a higher price to pay later.”


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Is the United Nations Getting Ready for the Transformational Power of Forgiveness?

Category : Uncategorized

During April 24-25, 2018 the United Nations convened a high-level meeting in New York on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The purpose of the meeting was to assess efforts undertaken and opportunities to strengthen the United Nations work on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The United Nations Headquarters welcomed heads of states to review the organization’s current work in conflict prevention and how to strengthen current operations and institutions related to peace. The High-Level Meeting was an occasion for participants from government, civil society, including women’s groups and representatives of the youth, the private sector, regional and sub-regional organizations and academia to discuss ways to support and promote sustaining peace. This was an historical milestone for advancing the United Nations’ work in the areas of conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding and to set the stage for a wider agenda of renewal and reform.

This meeting attracted the highest levels of attendance seen at the United Nations this year. It brought about a greater understanding of how one views peace. Perhaps Miroslav Lajc ̌a ́k President of the United Nations General Assembly said it best:

“Peace is more than a ceasefire. It is more than a peace deal. And, it is more than the absence of war. This means that once-off operations or activities are not enough to achieve it. Instead, we need to tackle conflict at its roots. We need to look to the horizon, to see the warning signs. We need to build a culture of peace; a culture of prevention.”

The meeting focused on a discussion in four areas.
Prevention
First, the UN meeting attendees looked at prevention, especially long-term prevention. This put the focus on sustainable development, economic growth, institution building and the respect for human rights.

Coherence
The second focus area was on coherence at both national and international levels. President Miroslav Lajc ̌a ́k spoke of a few examples such as in The Gambia where sustainable peace is central to the country’s national development plan. In Malawi United Nations development and political actors came together to support the national peace architecture. And in New York the Peacebuilding Commission is building bridges across the United Nations three pillars.

National Ownership
Sustaining peace does not stand a chance unless it is driven by national actors. Examples discussed included the Philippines where national cultures and policies were complemented rather than replaced.

Inclusion
The most prominent lesson was about inclusion. There are greater results with more inclusion. A shining example is how the women in Liberia have come together. They have developed a platform and a strong united voice, and because of their commitment and determination ended a civil war and now have come together to prevent the country from sliding back into war. Another example is the Balkans where young people even years after the fighting stopped continued to work for reconciliation. And in Sri Lanka civil society designed the national reconciliation process.
So how does political forgiveness fit into all of this?

Political forgiveness is a very inclusive and comprehensive approach to peacebuilding and sustaining peace. It is a process which involves the individual, the community and changing structures to support healing and reconciliation. As mentioned earlier, understanding the root causes is very important in peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Underneath the root causes are painful emotions which are driving the conflict and if the emotional currents are not given voice, emotions especially of anger, fear and hate will become a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Political forgiveness on an individual and community level focuses on healing these emotions so the root causes can be addressed.

In September 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide the role of public, non-profit, for-profit and voluntary sectors in global development. Goal 16 focuses on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Focusing on Goal 16 provides a wonderful opportunity for developing political forgiveness within countries. There are many facets to this and where political forgiveness can fit in. The UN can support such programs as “Schools for Forgiveness and Reconciliation” to help with the healing of political and domestic violence on an individual level. The UN can also support indigenous practices which involves community healing such as the Fambul Tok program in Sierra Leone. Lastly, to support goal 16 the UN can help governments look at structures within their countries which can support a culture of peace. This is where the transformational power of political forgiveness lies in not only healing individuals and communities but in also helping to change structures where it has the capacity to heal nations. Giving what the goals are of the United Nations and what it wants to achieve, the process of political forgiveness makes these goals achievable and is a process which fosters prevention and transforms conflict supporting peacebuilding mechanisms and sustaining peace around the world.

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.

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Forgiveness-Bitterness-Borris-Dunchunstang-published/dp/B009CS3U6M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1518395122&sr=8-2&keywords=Borris-Dunchunstang


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What an Ordinary Woman Taught Me About Forgiveness – And Political Forgiveness

Category : Uncategorized

In an address I was giving the other day as I was receiving the Athena Leadership award, I spoke about Irene Laure, an ordinary woman who did extraordinary things. Although forgiveness is probably the most difficult thing asked of us, if it is something that our heart truly wants even if it seems that a much larger part of ourselves wants something else, we will be able to forgive. Irene Laure’s story is a beautiful illustration of that.

I remember the first time that I spoke about her. It was a cold dreary day in Montreal during the winter of 1989. I was preparing to walk up to the podium to give my first presentation on forgiveness and international affairs. I was to talk about the Franco-German reconciliation after World War II, which was one of the greatest achievements of modern statecraft. The presentation was highlighting the experiences of one French woman, Irene Laure, who had the courage to forgive and by this one act was able to change the face of Europe.

As I was approaching the lectern, I couldn’t help but wonder what Irene Laure must have been feeling some forty years earlier in Caux, Switzerland, when she too needed to address the assembly. How did she become such a remarkable woman?

Irene was a rebel against injustice from her earliest days. She was also taught to be a German hater having grown up in France during World War I and later suffered at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. One night during the early days of the occupation Irene was walking down the street when she heard marching boots shattering the stillness of the night. Suddenly Irene was surrounded by a German patrol, with their torchlight blinding her and their harsh orders deafening her ears. She was pointing to her nursing bag hoping it would save her. Instead she was propelled forward by the muzzle of a machine gun in the small f her back, wondering if this meant her death.

As I looked into the eyes of my audience, years later, I couldn’t help but ask myself how many of them had ever experienced living in a war zone. I knew there were diplomats and foreign service officers in the audience, but how many of them understood first-hand why and how we can hate so much. We speak of conflict so antiseptically. So often we think that once we have a treaty or policy in place, peace will follow. Governments usually don’t go further than that and certainly not to the core of the pain and suffering that is at the root of all wars.

Irene was a poignant example of a human being wounded by the atrocities of violence and war. A Lutheran minister posed a question to her asking her how she envisioned a united Europe without Germany. After a great deal of soul searching Irene realized that hatred and revenge was not going to give her what she really wanted. She also realized that hatred, whatever the reasons for it, is always a factor that creates new wars.

Irene was eventually able to see things different. There was a total transformation in her thinking. By being able to see the world through the eyes of forgiveness, Irene’s life took on new meaning She made the commitment to take the message of forgiveness and reconciliation to Germany and to the world.

Irene’s story exemplifies the possibility and potential that a change in perception and transformation in thinking can bring. This is the miracle that only forgiveness and its processes can bring to life. Irene was willing to look into her heart, acknowledge her weakness, and say she was sorry for her hateful thoughts toward the Germans. The results of her actions were profound, and Irene was not only able to build a new relationship with the Germans, she committed the rest of her life in helping to reconcile France with Germany and spread the word of forgiveness.
Irene touched my heart in so many ways, especially in understanding the power of forgiveness and the way forgiveness can not only heal individuals – it can also have a profound effect in the healing of nations.

I feel so blessed to have known the work of Irene Laure. She has truly inspired me to go to areas of conflict around the world, places where war once was, and to work with groups, who at one time may have been enemies, and bring them together, through the healing work that only forgiveness can bring.


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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School finds a Way Through Forgiveness

Thousands of mourners attend a candlelight vigil for victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 15, 2018.

A grieving community tries to come to grips with the loss of 17 precious lives. Mourners come together to honor the victims as sadness clutches the face of so many people trying to make sense of what has happened. As tears wash the pain and sorrow felt in so many hearts, behind those brave faces is a sense of fear and confusion after such a devastating event. Despite this horrific tragedy so many students demonstrated the best of humanity.

While thousands of mourners slowly gathered on that mild February day a group of eight high school students formed a tight circle. As people met each other with hugs and tears before Thursday’s vigil for the dead, eight students appealed to a higher being to save the souls they had just lost. They reflected on the sanctity of life. They held each other up just 24 hours after experiencing senseless evil. Shay Makonde, a junior at the high school led the group in prayer. His message was that we shall carry on for the lives that were lost. For Shay, the day after the shooting was not only about community, it had also presented the challenge of forgiveness.

Shay had to deal with his own trauma. The day before he led those prayers, Shay was in one of the hallways where Nikolaus Cruz, the 19-year-old suspect, opened fire on students. Shay pulled two of his classmates into a hallway during the shooting. What was most striking was that Shay heard Cruz laughing before he saw a third friend go down.

Notwithstanding what had happened Shay said that he cannot hate the shooter. Instead, Shay says he wants to focus on the people he still has in his life, and on honoring his lost friend’s life. Hatred, he said, only breeds more hatred and pain.

Even with the horrific nature of the attack other students also found a way forward through forgiveness. One student, Daniela Menescal who like others thought that a drill was taking place until the moment bullet fragments slammed into her back and leg. She hid behind a metal cabinet as gunfire sprayed the room. The girl in front of her was hit in the face, a bullet was lodged in her eye. Menescal survived and made it home bandaged with metal from the bullets still inside her. Despite all that happened to her that day she found it in her heart to forgive. When asked what message she wanted to get out it was forgiveness. “In the back of his mind, God is with him and I know that we all deserve a second chance, and that even for all that he caused, we forgive him. I forgive him,” Menescal said.

The killing of 17 people at the high school in Parkland, Fla., has yet to reveal much forgiveness toward the shooter. It is too early. People need time to recovery physically and emotionally. The anger over the murders, especially among Parkland students, is directed mainly at elected officials and the cause of controlling access to guns, especially assault rifles. That debate should not be deflected or weakened. Yet at the same time, the United States can tackle the issue of whether better qualities of care in society – including the role of forgiveness – might help prevent a similar shooting.

After the 2015 shooting that killed nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church, many in the predominantly African-American congregation forgave the young white male gunman. In doing so, they hoped not only to heal the hatred they felt but the hatred in him that motivated the crime. In addition, they hoped their forgiveness might enable them to better reach others prone to violence and perhaps prevent a similar massacre.

We may want to think about this and the role forgiveness can play in our society. With so much hatred and violence taking place changing mindsets can go a long way in healing the maladies we face. Forgiveness can break the cycles of violence and have a healing effect which our society so desperately needs.

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.
https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Forgiveness-Bitterness-Borris-Dunchunstang-published/dp/B009CS3U6M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1518395122&sr=8-2&keywords=Borris-Dunchunstang


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Will the Real Person Please Stand Up! Step 5 – Reframing the Situation

Licensed Psychologist, Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Author, and Leader in Global Conflict Resolution

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.


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If you Think it is Love that Makes the World go Around – Think again – It’s Guilt!

Category : Uncategorized

Licensed Psychologist, Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Author, and Leader in Global Conflict Resolution

In Step 4 of the forgiveness process the focus is on healing our guilt. Underneath your anger, you will find guilt. No one wants to be aware of their guilt and the possible shame that goes with it. Guilt is particularly hard to get in touch with and deal with. Guilt includes all those negative feelings we believe to be true about ourselves. It is something we don’t want to know about ourselves. We would much rather pretend that it doesn’t exist. The problem is if we don’t look squarely at our guilty feelings we have to put them somewhere else, namely on other people. Whenever we attack someone even in times when we think it is in self-defense, we need to become sensitive to the motivation behind our actions. Often our actions are based in guilt and fear, not in genuine concern for ourselves and others. As soon as something happens to us, we can only see the situation through our negative thinking caused by our guilt. Until we recognize what we are doing, we will continue to blame others and have a distorted view of what is actually happening. We need to learn how to see through our smoke screens and own our guilt. We heal guilt by taking responsibility for our choices. Keep in mind that holding on to guilt and being stuck in a victim role is a choice, too. As we begin to heal our guilt, the prison walls around our heart begin to fall away. The healing that takes place during this phase will ultimately enable us to accept and absorb our pain, which is a pivotal point in the healing process.

The way to work with guilt is to recognize that when you are experiencing feelings ranging from a slight irritation to a full-blown fight, you are covering up feelings of guilt. Once you ask what you are accusing others of and recognize that you are also accusing yourself of the same kind of thing, you are beginning to uncover your guilt. When these feelings are exposed, you can begin to take responsibility for them, which begins the healing process. Once these feelings are exposed, you can begin to take responsibility for them, which begins the healing process. When you recognize that you are capable of committing a similar kind of act in a different form as your offender, you begin to recognize that we are all capable of doing things that hurt ourselves and others. In some respects, we are more alike than different. In acknowledging that all of us are capable of doing similar things, we begin to see the situation differently.

This may be the time when we need to forgive ourselves for something we may have done in the past. As we learn how to forgive ourselves, our interpretation of reality begins to shift. When we begin to peel away our guilt, we begin to see the situation differently, not through the eyes of guilt any more, but with eyes of compassion. Once we take responsibility for our actions, holding on to guilt becomes a choice. We can choose to hold on or to let go. Healing guilt is about looking at what we have done, taking responsibility, making other choices, and realizing that we are greater than our thoughts and behaviors. That is not to say that other people’s behavior may not need to be changed. The important issue here is our motivation. Are we coming from a place of guilt or compassion that is influencing what we do? There is something far greater inside of us that we have covered by our guilt. The more guilt we can heal, the closer we come to the truth of who we are, and the more we can hear the voice of our higher nature. When we can recognize the truth in ourselves as we heal, we will also see the truth in others. This is the work of Step Four.

To be able to forgive others you need to be able to forgive yourself. Begin this journal exercise by asking yourself, “What do I feel guilty of in relation to this situation or at other times in my life?” Explore whatever comes up without judgment. Don’t be afraid to reach back in time for feelings of guilt. This is part of your healing process. Feel your feelings as they surface and be open to what they want to say to you. “Is there something now or in the past that needs healing and, if so, what actions can I take to heal it?” Even if it is clear that you did nothing to the perpetrator, you will may have feelings of guilt. If there is something that you feel ashamed of, explore those feelings to get to the roots of your wound. This action will uncover something you need to forgive yourself for. Guilt will also surface after you ask yourself, “What am I secretly accusing myself of?” If you are honest with yourself, you will find guilt associated in some way with what has happened. Explore this in your journal. It could be that you recognize something about your actions or inaction that has caused these feelings or thoughts about certain things. Journal with whatever comes up. You will probably have to repeat the journal exercise in this step a number of times before you are able to release some of your guilt. Guilt runs so deeply that if we worked on it for a lifetime we would still find more! What’s important is to be gentle with yourself as you do this work. After you have explored your guilt feelings ask yourself, “How have I placed my feelings of guilt on others, such as through blaming or judging? What can I do differently now?” Go deep within and listen.

Reflection: Ask yourself, how has my unresolved guilt affected my life? How has guilt kept me trapped in the victim role? How has guilt kept me from forgiving myself and others? 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.

 


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Got Anger? Step Three: Now is the time to let it Go!

Licensed Psychologist, Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Author, and Leader in Global Conflict Resolution

Got anger? To be human is to have anger. It is an important emotion. Anger tells us that our circumstances need to change. IF we can’t let go of our anger it is also telling us that we need to change. This is the time when we get into the trenches of our emotions and have the difficult dialogue with ourselves about what happened and how we will choose to deal with it in a healing capacity. It is the time when we roll up our sleeves and become very honest with ourselves. Our tendencies are to want to feel sorry for ourselves and stay stuck in a victim role. By playing “poor me” we disempower ourselves or continue to play the blame game and not take responsibility or positive action in our lives. Instead of seeing the situation as the good guy versus the bad guy, we would be better served to learn the lessons our emotions are trying to teach us and to understand what is making the person behave that way.

This is a difficult phase because it requires introspection and honest soul searching. Although we may think we are angry at someone else if we are having difficulty letting go of anger it is an indication that we are in the need of healing. Don’t be afraid to dialogue with the anger inside of you. Ask your anger what it wants whatever comes to mind or sharing what is inside of you with someone you trust. Honor what your anger says to you. You may need to journal many times focusing on your anger. You can also draw it. There may be multiple meanings to your anger. Your anger could be protecting you. It could also be telling you what you need to do to heal.

For your journal exercise rewrite your story. Focus on your anger and give your anger voice. Ask your anger what it is trying to tell you. How is your anger protecting you? If you are having difficulty letting go of your anger, ask yourself what are you accusing the offender of? Deep down inside, you are secretly accusing yourself of the same things. For example, if you are accusing someone of betraying you, you may have never betrayed someone in the same way but perhaps you have betrayed yourself or others in some other way. Ask yourself, have I ever betrayed (or whatever the issue may be) someone else or myself in a different way and journal with whatever comes up. Explore your anger until you find out what needs to change inside of you and, possibly, what outer changes you may also want to make. Ask your anger how it can be used in a healing capacity.

Reflection: To get a deeper understanding of your anger ask yourself, “what are the lessons my anger is trying to teach me?” Repeat this question at least five times so you can get beneath the surface of your anger to what is happening deep within yourself. Also ask yourself, “what do I emotionally experience as I tell my story?” As you gain greater understanding do you begin to experience your emotions differently. Please share your thoughts on www.facebook.com/7steps to forgiveness, 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.

 


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Join the Forgiveness Campaign

Relationships can be difficult and sometimes painful. We get hurt, are angry and sometimes these feelings turn into bitterness. But do these emotions get us what we want? Is there a better way to deal with our emotional burdens? This is what forgiveness is about. It helps us with our inner healing and is not about letting someone off the hook. For the next 9 weeks I will be talking about forgiveness, what it is and what it isn’t. Each week will focus on one of the steps on how to forgive. I will also ask questions for you to think about and I am hoping that we can start a dialogue on what is forgiveness and how to forgive. This is the first week of the forgiveness campaign. I have discussed in my previous blog what forgiveness is.  The first question is to ask yourself Am I receptive to the idea of forgiveness? If so, how will I ensure I approach this issue without compromising my authenticity? Please share your stories, your questions and your thoughts here or on my blog. www.drborris.com. Next week I will talk about the first step in how to forgive. I hope you will join in. Let the forgiveness campaign begin!

Licensed Psychologist, Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Author, and Leader in Global Conflict Resolution