Humans are social creatures. We don’t do well in isolation and we do need to communicate. When we are hurt, confused or even very happy, it helps to talk over our strong emotions with someone else.
Welcome to Day Nineteen of 30 Days to Forgiveness! Click here to read the first post!
Working through forgiveness is no different. Forgiveness is not an emotion, but working through the process does involve a lot of very strong emotions.
We’ve talked before about how important it is to be very clear about what you are forgiving and the pain that it has caused you. That’s easier said than done.
We have also talked a lot about the fact that forgiveness is a process. During that process, some days are going to be easier than others.
Let’s be very honest here. There are some days when forgiveness is the farthest thing from your mind. Some days you will look at your long list of blessings and shrug. Some days, from the time you open your eyes, are just plain bad days and you wonder why you bothered getting out of bed.
Let’s agree to forgive ourselves for having bad days, okay?
On those bad days, it’s really important to have someone with whom you can open up and talk. It could be a spouse or friend, a pastor or counselor, and it could even be someone in your community that you trust.
These days, with online communities forming, you might have someone you know online who can act as a sounding board. This is one of my blessings – I have several online friends that I trust and can open up to when I need help. Some of them will give me trusted spiritual counsel, some will offer that supportive and listening ear that is sometimes necessary. One friend provides the most wonderful Spock-like advice, completely logical and sound, and then there’s the one who lets me rant and holler and show my worst self. (As I’ve said before, don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m perfect!)
Words are powerful and being able to open up a dialogue about your anger and pain can be very powerful.
Venting can be a great way to let off a little steam and release some of your pressure. It gives you room for rational thought and more positive feelings. Keeping it all bottled up, pretending nothing is wrong, is rarely the best thing to do.
On the other hand, you don’t want to be the person who is ‘venting’ all over the place, complaining and growling to everyone you meet.
A kettle that is venting is working properly.
A kettle that is leaking all over the place is …. Well, it’s not.
If you’re still there, so attached to your grudges that folks are backing carefully away from the angry person, you might to spend a lottle more time with a pastor or a paid counselor and definitely more time with your journal and in prayer.
(What’s a lottle? It’s like a little … except a lot.)
And … sometimes you need to have a conversation with the person you need to forgive. If that person is your spouse or a family member, you most definitely need to talk with them.
When you do have these conversations, don’t forget to listen as much as you talk.
When we feel hurt, it’s hard to stay objective. Talking can help us realize that maybe we weren’t as slighted as we thought. A frank discussion in which both parties are committed to a positive outcome can clear up misunderstanding and provide us with information to look at the situation through another’s eyes.
They also help us sort through our emotions and thoughts.
Tomorrow we’ll talk a little more about daily habits!