The Forgiveness Project, From Despair to Understanding, Love & Healing

I have started a Forgiveness Project. I went to The Vigeland Park to ask 6 people from all corners of the world about questions regarding forgiveness, which to me is all about sharing our stories and wisdom that we have all gained in life. Nobody wants to suffer and by forgiveness, we can overcome despair by understanding, find happiness and love. Read more about their answers below.


I contacted Professor in Philosophy, Espen Gamlund who works at the University of Bergen in Norway and asked him some questions on the topic of forgiveness. Here is what he had to say.

“You have only forgiven when you are no longer angry or carry a grudge against the person who caused you harm.”

picture-7569-1477379946
Image borrowed from UIB.no 

What is the definition of forgiveness? The standard definition of forgiveness is that it entails to let go or overcome moral resentment or harm directed towards a perpetrator or someone who has done something morally wrong. This means you have only forgiven when you are no longer angry or carry a grudge against the person who caused you harm. Then it can be discussed whether there are other feelings that are also relevant to forgiveness, such as sorrow, pain, disappointment, and more. It can also be discussed further whether forgiveness requires forgiveness to be conveyed from the harmed to the perpetrator, or whether it is possible to forgive in his heart, without the perpetrator being involved. 

How do we forgive an event that has strongly affected us? It is undoubtedly difficult for many to forgive in those cases when we are exposed to serious violations or abuse. One point is that we forgive people and not actions. If the one that caused us damage acts in a way that restores the imbalance, it can make it easier to forgive. For example, a regret or an apology may make the forgiveness process easier because the perpetrator is guilty and expresses that he or she should not have caused us harm. Sometimes, however, a regret is not enough simply because the violation was so great that nothing could repair the damage. In such cases, the best thing is to not forgive.

“One point is that we forgive people and not actions.” – Espen Gamlund

“Restoring the balance of the relationship.”

Why should we forgive? There may be several reasons why we should forgive the one that has caused us harm. A justification may be for the purpose of restoring the balance of the relationship with the perpetrator. If your partner is unfaithful to you and you have children together, there are good reasons for you to try to forgive for family reasons. Another reason for forgiveness may be that the perpetrator deserves to be forgiven. If the violation was less serious and the perpetrator does everything he or she can to recover the damage, it may be that you have a duty to forgive for the sake of the perpetrator. A third reason to why you should forgive may be for your own sake. If forgiveness is necessary in order for you to live your life after being subjected to an offense, then there may be a reason to forgive.

forgiveness

What effect does forgiveness have on a person? Forgiveness can have a positive effect on the person who is forgiven by the understanding that it is possible to get another chance even if something was done wrong. This can help the person not to repeat the wrong action that was committed. Forgiveness can also have a positive effect on the person who decides to forgive, by making him or she feels better after forgiving. But forgiveness can also have a negative effect both on he or she who forgives and him or her that has been forgiven.

forgiveness

If the injured person is not ready to forgive or is unable to forgive, then it may be counterproductive to forgive. And if the perpetrator does not even believe that he or she has done what he is accused of, then forgiveness is perceived as a burden or an offense, by that the forgiveness signalizes that you have done something wrong, which you don’t agree with.


The Forgiveness Project
Here are my Interviews I got from The Vigeland Park where I asked 6 people from different corners of the world questions about forgiveness, here are their answers.

Hanne Aardal_TiagaNihalKaur_www.mettayoga.net
I think it is important to forgive to bring peace to your heart. 

Hanne Aardal 43 years, Works as a Freelance Journalist from Norway.

How would you define what forgiveness means to you personally? And why is it important to forgive?

For me, to forgive someone does not imply saying “it`s ok what you did to me” or “I accept what happened”, it is more a way of saying: “Let’s put this behind us”. I think it is important to forgive to be able to move on, to avoid being consumed by anger or bitterness. To bring peace to your heart. Easier said than done, of course. And some things are harder to forgive than others.

I also think it is really important to forgive yourself. Many of us are our own worst critics, we beat ourselves up, and judge ourselves for things we would never judge a friend or a loved one for. We all do mistakes, we all say or do things we regret. Yes, we are humans. We do the best we can. So let`s learn from those mistakes and move on. I think some of the most important tools we can give our children is to apologize – and to forgive.

What have you forgiven in your life?

I have had to forgive certain things that happened at school when I was a kid, and at work as a grown-up, for example. But the hardest thing is to forgive myself. I can be very harsh with myself – so even that I have to try to forgive. I say to myself: “I love and forgive myself, even if I don`t love and forgive myself”. There is much comfort in that little sentence. A spiritual teacher gave it to me. Maybe some of the readers will find it useful too?


NimaSalami_TiagaNihalKaur_www.mettayoga.net
I think everyone should learn how to forgive.

Nima Salami, 24 years.

How would you define what forgiveness means to you personally? And why is it important to forgive?

I think that is a tough question but I think forgiving is, first of all, letting you free, because if you haven’t forgiven someone it hurts you first and you might have a feeling that you might want to get revenge, but the bitterness is not really good. So I think everyone should learn how to forgive. But it is not easy, so why is it important? Because if everyone learns how to forgive each other we will have a more peaceful life altogether. Because nobody is perfect, everybody makes mistakes so its good to live in peace together.

What have you forgiven in your life?

I have forgiven many people because they did wrong to me but I have also have done wrong unto many people and I hope they can forgive me too. But I think the biggest forgiveness that I did was a person who betrayed me and I felt bitter for quite a long time but I felt like I should let it go and wish the best for the person.


GraceJiyeKimHove_TiagaNihalKaur_www.mettayoga.net
I think by forgiving them I think it made me a lot more free

Grace Jiye Kim Hove, 26 years from South Korea.

How would you define what forgiveness means to you personally? And why is it important to forgive?

Wow, forgiveness. I think forgiveness is love I think because we are all humans, we all make mistakes and if we think that we are all the same people we can understand why that person makes their mistakes. The base is love I think, and with love and understanding we understand each other I think that is where forgiveness comes from.

What have you forgiven in your life?

This is a little bit of a personal story, but in middle school, I was bullied by other kids and that had made a big impact on me and on my life but I have decided to forgive the other students that had bullied me. Personally, I think it made me a lot more free and first of all I had to accept that’s what happened to me and second I had to think of their perspective. And at that time they were also going through a lot of stuff in their lives, I think by forgiving them I think it made me a lot more free and a lot happier in general.


Yusuke_TiagaNihalKaur_www.mettayoga.net
I have to forgive my family

Yusuke, 31 years, from Japan.

How would you define what forgiveness means to you personally? And why is it important to forgive?

Its a difficult question for me, people always make mistakes but people can change their mind so forgiveness is very important to me I think. Because I also make mistakes but for example my family always forgave me and I have to forgive my family and my important persons.

What have you forgiven in your life?

When I was a student my sister always physically attacked me because she had stress from her friends. I always cried but she is my family. So my parents explained to me about her situation and I tried to forgive her but when I was a student I couldn’t, but now I understand her situation and I forgive her. When I was a student I couldn’t stand her, I couldn’t forgive her but I couldn’t attack her back but now I am an adult so I understand her situation.


Jamila_TiagaNihalKaur_www.mettayoga.net
I have forgiven everything in life

Jamila, 25 years from Italy.

How would you define what forgiveness means to you personally? And why is it important to forgive?

Because for me forgiving people makes me feel better I think it makes you happier and more comfortable with people, with life and for that, it is important to forgive other people and I think it is important because it makes you feel comfortable with yourself. Forgiveness gives you happiness and it makes you a better person, you are happy, you have no problems with anyone, it makes you more comfortable with yourself and with society.

What have you forgiven in your life?

I have forgiven everything in life, I have forgiven that my friends have betrayed me, my ex cheated on me but I have no problem with that. Before I wasn’t this person when I didn’t forgive people, I was always mad and unhappy, but forgiveness makes you happy I think.


BengtKarnæs_TiagaNihalKaur_www.mettayoga.net
I think you can choose how to respond to things and how you see things.  

Bengt Karnæs, 21 years from Norway.

How would you define what forgiveness means to you personally? And why is it important to forgive?

Forgiveness, I don’t have so much experience with it but I believe it has something to do with choosing to be happy.  That if you at a time manage to realize that your feelings are not a part of you, it`s a part of you but do not relate to much to your feelings but understand that they are there like your thoughts are. I think you can choose how to respond to things and how you see things and that way you can override your mind and forgive.

What have you forgiven in your life?

I believe the greatest forgiveness is that thing happen as they do. I have struggled with a family that has different mental health troubles and one must also come to an agreement that is as it is and let go of that resistance. Because that’s what hurts you the most.


A BIG thank you!
Thank you to all that have participated in the Forgiveness Project with their engagement and their stories of loss and hope. I aim to work to share the matters of the heart through these interviews. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me here or send me an e-mail at mettayoganet@gmail.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible.


Metta Yoga Online:
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Thank you for reading!

With loving kindness,
Tiaga Nihal Kaur.
Namaste ॐ

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Such a great article about forgiveness! Great journalistic work too! Keep it up! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Metta Yoga says:

      Thank you kindly ☺️

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s