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How to Choose to Forgive in Order to Relieve Your Anger

As the old saying goes, “Timing is everything.” Conditions need to be right before you can expect to begin to relieve your anger through forgiveness.

You have to be safe in order to forgive

Anger does play a protective role in unsafe life circumstances — situations where mistreatment is ongoing, where you are on guard against the potentially hurtful actions of others, and where you believe your physical or emotional survival is threatened. To ask yourself to forgive someone who is actively harming you here and now is too much to ask. You have to be safe first.

Are you safe enough to start a process of forgiveness?

You have to acknowledge the frailty of human nature in order to forgive

The thing we mostly need to forgive others for is being human. Humans are actually very frail creatures, despite all the marvelous advancements in technology that we find around us each and every day. we make mistakes. We hurt other people’s feelings — intentionally or not. At times, we’re far too selfish. We say “no” when we should say “yes.”

Most people mean well. Most people do the best they can under the circumstances. But, often, that’s not good enough. So, people end up blaming each other for what? For being human.

You probably get angry with people because they don’t do what you expect of them. But do you expect too much? Nobody has the absolutely perfect parent, child, boss, spouse, or friend. And if you can’t forgive yourself (“I hate myself. I’m a loser. I never do anything right.”), is that because you hold yourself to an unrealistic, all-or-nothing standard of performance?

In the immortal words of humorist Woody Allen, “We are all bozos on the same bus.” Some are poor bozos, some intelligent bozos, some beautiful bozos, some inconsiderate bozos, some difficult bozos — but, in the end, we’re still bozos.

Isn’t it time you looked at the person you’ve been unable to forgive simply as a “bozo” — maybe a big bozo — instead of some evil person who deserves your vengeance?

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