Dr. Richard S. Balkin’s new book, Practicing Forgiveness: A Path Toward Healing, presents a new and practical model for forgiveness that guides us down the sometimes difficult path of determining when and who to forgive, when to attempt to repair a relationship with someone who has harmed us, and when to move forward from those relationships that are unhealthy for us to attempt to repair.
Balkin explains that people tend to associate forgiveness solely as an interpersonal prospect, focused on renegotiating the relationship and seeking external resolution; but sometimes, interpersonal forgiveness and reconciliation is not a viable option, and the journey of forgiveness becomes one of self healing. He reminds the reader to always consider the benefits, and the risks, of reconciliation. One needs to question if going back to the relationship is beneficial – Has the person who committed the offense or transgression changed and are they remorseful? When a dangerous or unhealthy situation persists, the challenge is to be able to recognize and accept that it is impossible to get what you want from the other person, or the relationship, and seek a path of intrapersonal forgiveness.
When interpersonal forgiveness is not a possibility, you have the option of an internalized process of forgiveness. This is an expanded definition of forgiveness based on the Forgiveness Reconciliation model, and one that allows for moving forward with a desired change. It begins with a willingness to sit with the discomfort and then head in an alternate direction from your habitual patterning.
Carrying around the emotional weight of trauma and feelings such as anger, hurt, betrayal, depression and fear takes an emotional and physical toll. It affects every aspect of our lives, our energy and that we exude to others. It puts our mental and physical health in jeopardy and can lead to addiction, depression, failed relationships, dysfunction and passive aggressive behavior. The Forgiveness Reconciliation model provides a guide to internal resolution through acceptance, processing your grief and resolving conflicted emotions. It is a roadmap to embracing forgiveness, to healing, an endeavor completely under your control that reunites you with your personal power.