Is there anyone you would like to forgive, but feel stuck perpetually revisiting awful details of what was done to you? Are you having trouble forgiving yourself for a huge mistake? Or do you hold a draining grudge against someone because they do not admit that they have wronged you and do not deserve your forgiveness? All of these unforgiving scenarios and more lead us into being less successful and happy in our lives. But what if you could find a way to break out of these emotional traps and tap into new energy? Would you?
In her new book, The Law of Forgiveness, Connie Domino offers a simple formula for forgiveness, which has been successful for scores of participants who have learned the technique in her workshops. The author includes numerous stories from readers and workshop participants about how the Law of Forgiveness has redirected their energy and produced desired results in their lives.
For decades in my mental health practice I have observed how unforgiving (and unapologetic) clients are glued in one spot emotionally — unable to fully develop and appreciate their lives. Whether the subjects of their resentment and anger are abusive parents, cheating spouses, disloyal friends, or their pain is based on a simple type of relationship breach, wounded and unforgiving individuals are capable and deserve to reach forgiveness — for their own sakes.
Fortunately, for many, using Domino's method, it is not necessary to confront the offending party. The forgiveness technique can be conducted in the privacy of one's home. I find this specific feature of the process makes it possible for anyone to be successfully forgiving toward another. Also, in many situations it may be impossible or undesirable to go face-to-face with the offending party and bestow forgiveness.
Chapter 5, But I'm Still Angry… Working through This Cycle of Healing When Forgiving, is my favorite chapter because it explains that it takes time to heal from a loss and individuals vary in how they work through the stages of healing. We all have different coping mechanisms and support systems. When we turn our focus to the positive gains, we learn that "even in our worst relationships, there was learning and growth — even when the only thing we learned is what we don't want in a partner, friend, supervisor, etc." (page 89)
When we forgive, we change ourselves, creating a ripple effect around us; but we do not control the direction of the ripple. The behavior of the other(s) toward us may improve or become worse. This response then provides us with concrete experiences on which to base our continued (or discontinued) relationship with the other.