the forgiveness project

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Frederic Luskin, a psychologist and the head of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, offers thoughts about forgiveness when “when you’ve been harmed by someone you’re close to and must work through all the conflicting feelings to get to a place of dignity and peace.”

Reading even these words gives me the thrill of coming upon something that can help me. A project! I love projects because I love plans and focus and work. More to the point, I am so uncomfortable with indecision. Much like Caroline “it’s not that I can’t make up my mind, it’s that I can’t stop making up my mind,” that’s how much she is troubled by indecision.

Dr. Luskin’s advice is standard: honestly apologize (no “I’m sorry but”), ask for forgiveness, practice forgiveness. Here’s what reading it triggered in me: forgiving is not the same thing as reconciling. You can let go of the blackness of blame — forgive in other words — but still decide to step away from the relationship, for awhile or forever. Maybe, even, you can’t know if reconciliation is possible until you forgive?

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