What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. How to do it? How to even start going in that direction? How to be near someone who has hurt you? Forgiveness has changed as I have aged. It takes more for me to forgive someone who has crushed my spirit. What if it is family you need to forgive? What about betrayal of the behaviors leading to needing to forgive?

Can you be your authentic self without forgiving someone who has hurt you? How do you know when you have actually arrived at forgiveness? Do you feel better? Haunted? Neutral? Angry? Sad? Accepting? Should you even feel different? Why does it matter?

There is much written about forgiveness and lots of discussion about it in the Bible and online. Google the word forgiveness and see what comes up…fascinating! Does failing to forgive someone give you more stress and discomfort or can you move on from the incident easily? Is it enough to end contact with the person who hurt you or can you continue to interact without any issues? Is forgiveness a religious behavior or one based on living authentically?

Do you have to have anything to do or say to the person to forgive them? Does forgiving them mean you share with them how they made you feel? Does the person that did the cruel, unkind behavior need to be part of the process at all? Can you avoid them forever more, and be done forgiving? Can you accept they did the best they can, and does that count as forgiveness?

I have many more questions than answers. Everything I read tells me I will feel better forgiving someone for hurting me. I believe forgiveness will help me deal with the mind-body emotions and physical symptoms that the hurting behaviors caused me. I do not want to associate, even remotely, with those who have hurt me that I need to forgive. Does that mean I am over it or just stuck? What do you think about forgiveness in your life?


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN


About Turner Healthcare
As CEO and founder of the consulting firm, Turner Healthcare Associates, Inc. since 1993, Dr. Turner continuously implements the skills gleaned from over thirty five years of experience in the healthcare field. She began her career as a registered nurse in a Critical Care Unit and Emergency Department. She has served in top management roles, including Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, for various hospitals throughout Southern California. Dr. Turner was also appointed the first Statewide Nursing Officer for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Dr. Turner is an Associate Professor for the UCLA Graduate School of Nursing, Moorpark Community College, and has served as the Health Career expert for Monster.com for six years. Currently, Dr. Turner provides career coaching, planning, and advisement. She specializes in helping young adults seeking healthcare careers and individuals in transition, such as older RNs. In addition to her Bachelor's of Science degree in Nursing from Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles, she holds a Master's Degree in Nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master's of Business Administration from California Lutheran University. She received her Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business Administration from California Southern University. Her doctoral dissertation discussed the ramifications of clinical re-engineering of nursing services in the 1990’s. Dr. Turner is the author of numerous articles in national healthcare journals as well as the “The Nurse’s Guide to Managed Care,” and “The Nursing Career Planning Guide,” both published by Jones-Bartlett.

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