How to Forgive: A Cognitive Behavioral Model for Forgiveness and Letting Go of Anger and Frustration


Dr. Andrew Gottlieb:

“What is forgiveness?

Here’s what it is not. It is not for anyone else, only for you. It doesn’t imply reconciliation with the person who hurt you nor does it imply that you approve of their actions. It does not mean forgetting what happened.

What is forgiveness?

It is only for you, in order to help you feel better. As one well-known researcher said, “failing to forgive is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Forgiveness means understanding what is causing your current distress. It is not what offended you or hurt you years ago or even a few minutes ago. The primary cause of your suffering is from your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in response to your thoughts about the event.

This is a subtle concept.

Most of us believe the reason we are angry is because someone has done us wrong. And it’s true, that if we could erase the event, we would stop being angry. But none of us own a time machine so we can not erase the events.

What makes us suffer is each moment that we think about the offending person or event.

And how we think about these events.

It is as if you own a DVD collection of movies of different events in your life.

If you were to choose to only watch the upsetting movies, your overall level of happiness would greatly diminish.

Choosing to forgive is choosing the DVDs of your life that are positive and full of joy.?


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by rudid96 on February 20, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    Given that C-PTSD alters a person’s life in a multitude of ways, the self-discovery and healing process are particularly multidimensional. Relational Trauma interferes with the connection. My ego is quick to feel wounded and angry. I’m sure it’s all related to the past but how do you let all your parts know ‘that was then’ & ‘this is now?’ Is there some kind of rule for measuring when something is amiss in real time?

  2. I have done it

    Through therapy and meditation, I let go and stay present

    I could sit in the middle of my childhood and eat up the cortisol and adrenaline

    Use your senses. See Hear Smell Touch without thought

    We need to be observers

    My weakness is forgiving.

    My anger and resentment

  3. Posted by rudid96 on February 21, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    Yes, I go to therapy. Yes, I’ve been finding time for concentrated breathing. Those times are grounded. But the balance isn’t maintained when I try to add people into the equation. Those hurts are so easily stirred. Living inside the breath is grounding. However, that safety still doesn’t carry over into making deeper friendships. Is this the permanent legacy of early trauma?

  4. Like golf Rudid96

    I was a star at the driving range but never could take it to the golf course

    Same for you

    Keep applying daily pressure

  5. Posted by rudid96 on February 21, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks. A appreciate the feedback.

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