Forgiveness and Resilience

Anyone who has Zoomed with me will see that I like having plants around. To me they are the easiest way to make a room feel alive and create beauty. I am not good with plants, though. I neglect them badly. Sometimes my peace lilies wilt completely. Their forlorn leaves dragging on the table are evidence of my carelessness.  

But my plants are endlessly forgiving. Most of them just perk right up with some water, a spritz of their leaves and a little attention. They have great bounce-back. Their resilience is inspiring. My plants make me think of the importance of being forgiving – of others and ourselves.        

Chinenye Boyer writes about the power of forgiveness and that letting go is key to emotional resilience. In her excellent post she explains that forgiveness is not forgetting or weakness. That it is good for your physical and emotional health. That forgiving is a shift in perspective that can improve relationships and bring you more inner peace. It is a process and a choice.     

Forgiving others is an important step in moving beyond past hurts. If the suffering is long-standing or traumatic a psychotherapist or trained counsellor can best guide you.

But there are everyday ways you can forgive that can help you move forward and gain emotional resilience. My clients are often very unforgiving of themselves as they work to make life changes. They sometimes set exacting standards and goals and have difficulty seeing what they have achieved unless everything is accomplished 100%. They may tell me that they aren’t trying or achieving enough. They are deeply disappointed with themselves when they have a set-back. They would probably never be this hard on another person.

When they can forgive and be compassionate with themselves things can change. They are more able to see and acknowledge their progress – even when it is slower than they want. They can take the win and not minimize it when they achieve a goal. Together we can reframe obstacles as challenges rather than personal failures and figure out how to tackle them more successfully.

Forgiveness is a process and a choice. It can be difficult but freeing and yes – you might need help. It is worth it to learn and practice letting go so that you can move forward stronger.