Lying is a common behavior. According to Statisticbrain.com, men tell six lies a day to their partners, bosses or colleagues and women tell three. Some lies may feel are worse than others, and it can be difficult to forgive. However, forgiving is one of the healthiest things a person can do.
Even if someone has experienced deep betrayal by a liar, forgiveness is not only possible but beneficial, says research Suzanne Freedman, author of What It Means to Forgive and Why the Way We Define Forgiveness Matters. Freeman says that how someone defines "forgiving" is key to whether or not they can move past the hurt and lies of another person. It is helpful for people to re-frame the concept of forgiving. A person needs to think of forgiveness as something they do for themselves to reduce the burden of carrying around resentment. They also need to learn that forgiving is not the same as condoning the liar's behavior.
Forgive for Yourself, Not the Other Person
In his book Radical Forgiveness, professor and hypnotherapist Colin Tipping gives the reader tools for forgiveness. He proposes some techniques, such as "collapsing the story." People usually create a bigger story out of dishonest event than it warrants. He suggests stepping back and viewing the situation from a more logical perspective. By doing this, a person can release the energy surrounding the lie by separating the facts from their interpretations.
Ask for Help
Authors Adam Hamilton and Rob Simbeck suggest that if a person is religious or spiritual, asking God or a higher power for help will aid people in forgiving others. In their book, Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go, they argue that holding on to anger is the most destructive thing a person can do. That emotion is so powerful it can totally overcome all parts of our lives. They say that from a religious or spiritual point of view, we can truly receive forgiveness from God when we learn to forgive other people and ourselves.
Just Decide to Forgive
In his book Forgiveness is a Choice, Robert D. Enright says that forgiving dishonest people is simple. It comes down to one thing - a decision. People who forgive tend to be more hopeful about the future, and it benefits the person who gives forgiveness more than the one who is forgiven. Enright also points out that forgiving does not mean you approve of the lie. Instead, it is a way to release pain so you can move on with your life.
- Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology; What it means to forgive and why the way we define forgiveness matters; Suzanne Freedman.
- Radical Forgiveness: A Revolutionary Five-Stage Process to Heal Relationships, Let Go of Anger and Blame, Find Peace in Any Situation; Colin Tipping.
- Forgiveness is a Choice; Robert D. Enright.
- Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go; Adam Hamilton and Rob Simbeck.
- Health.harvard.edu; Power of Forgiveness - Forgive Others.
- Statisticbrain.com; Lying Statistics
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