“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
It’s hard to be human. We’re always messing up, making mistakes, offending and being offended. And if the stuff we humans do to each other isn’t enough to distress us, we have the never-ending threats of disease, natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts, and accidents to add to our insecurity. How can I stop feeling angry and bitter about the painful things that happen to me and deal with the people who hurt me? How can I live with my past regrets and failures and attain peace of mind? How can I accept an imperfect world and quit attacking myself, others, and God for all the undesirable things that happen in it? The answer – choose forgiveness.
When life is not going the way we think it should it’s easy to become resentful, ashamed, and unkind to ourselves and others. Forgiveness enables us to overcome toxic instincts and unhealthy habits so that we can improve our well-being, our relationships, and our ability to learn, grow, and move forward. Forgiveness is a universal virtue, but it’s also universally difficult to genuinely and deeply forgive oneself and forgive others when we are hurt and in pain.
For my Ph.D. dissertation, I interviewed people from the diverse sacred belief systems of Agnosticism, Bahia, Buddhist philosophy and spiritualism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Lakota belief in Sacred Pipe and Red Road, Shirdi Baba follower, Syncretism (meaning the combination of different forms of belief), and Tibetan Buddhism. They were of different ages, genders, backgrounds, and situations. What the people I interviewed had in common was the ability to forgive through the Power of 4 Cs.
Connections to religious, spiritual, and/or social sources;
Courage to uncover and confront painful issues;
Compassion to accept and understand their hurt;
Creativity to construct a new and improved life story.
The 4Cs are what empower us to go from choosing to forgive to genuinely, deeply letting go of destructive thoughts and emotions, and liberating ourselves from the heavy burden hatred and shame can lay on us. Through this website, I hope to encourage discussion and provide research and stories to guide and support you on your own path to forgiveness.
Suggestion for How to Use this Site: You can start by learning What Forgiveness Is and How to Forgive. Consider the importance of humility and gratitude as it relates to your own experience. Then you can read Rose’s powerful story to understand how one person used forgiveness to bring peace to her difficult life situation. If you would like to read more compelling stories like that of Rose, you may purchase my book, Being Human is Hard: Choose Forgiveness, which is available in paperback and eBook formats. Provide your email address below and I will let you know when new stories, poems, and meditative posts are made to the Blog section of the website.
Christy Heacock, PhD, is a research psychologist and educator who has personally experienced the transformative power of forgiveness. Her work weaves together wisdom from the world’s religions and wisdom traditions with neuroscience and cognitive psychology. She has interviewed people from diverse faiths who have forgiven major offenses, and shares their stories through writings, presentations, group discussions, and classes.
Chris has been married 37 years to her husband Roger and has two adult daughters and a stepson. She enjoys bicycling, hiking, singing, playing the piano, traveling, and lifelong learning.
I’m available to do workshops, presentations and classes and can design them according to the needs of your group. Presentations always begin with a definition of forgiveness and move on to why you would choose forgiveness and how to genuinely, deeply forgive. Areas of focus may include, but are not limited to self-forgiveness, forgiving others, historical trauma and injustice, forgiveness in the workplace, spiritual humility, grief and loss. To learn more, click here.
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Please feel free to contact me if you wish to arrange a presentation, workshop, or class, or if you would like to share your questions about or experiences with forgiveness. Please note that I am not a licensed counselor, therapist or clinical psychologist. I am an educator and research psychologist. I look forward to hearing from you!