How do you forgive someone while still holding them accountable? What if that person is yourself? This week, our guest tries a practice in forgiving herself and someone else.
Anoosha Syed appreciates her name now, but as a kid, she struggled with feeling different from everyone else. She had friends call her “Annie” and even dyed her hair blonde in an effort to look less Pakistani. Anoosha joins us after trying a practice in forgiveness. Anoosha explores the complexities of forgiving someone who’s in a position of power and privilege and should know better, like the teacher who always mispronounced her name. Then, Anoosha took the practice a step further and directed it inward. She shares what it was like to forgive her younger self for not being as proud of her culture as she is today. Later, we hear from psychologist Dr. Lydia Woodyatt about the power of self-compassion and affirming our important values to release us from destructive self-blame while still holding ourselves accountable when we need to.
Make sure you know how you feel about what is going on and be able to articulate it. Then, tell someone you can trust about your experience.
Tell yourself you will feel better because of this forgiveness. Forgiveness is for you, not for others.
Remember, forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciling with the person who upsets you or condoning the behavior.
Recognize that your primary pain comes from hurt feelings, thoughts, and physical discomfort you are experiencing now, not from the thing that offended or hurt in the past.
Practice stress management to soothe yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed. Try things like mindful breathing or going for a walk.
Remind yourself that you cannot expect others to act in the way you think they should, but it’s ok to hope that they do.
Find another way to achieve the positive outcome you had hoped for in the first place.
Instead of focusing on your hurt feelings, look for the bright side of things. Focus on what’s going well for you.
Change the way you look at your past so you remind yourself of your heroic choice to forgive..
Find the Nine Steps to Forgiveness Practice at our Greater Good in Action website: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/nine_steps_to_forgiveness
Anoosha Syed is a Pakistani-Canadian freelance illustrator and author of the children's book, That is Not My Name.
Learn more about Anoosha and her works: http://www.anooshasyed.com/
Follow Anoosha on
Dr. Lydia Woodyatt is an associate professor in Psychology at Flinders University in Australia. She studies wellbeing, justice, emotions, and motivation.
Learn more about Lydia and her works: https://tinyurl.com/mrs974by
Follow Lydia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LydiaWoodyatt
Resources for forgiveness from The Greater Good Science Center:
Listen to an episode of Happiness Break on Self-forgiveness: https://tinyurl.com/3d7sevfs
Eight Keys to Forgiveness: https://tinyurl.com/5n82yjkf
Is a Grudge Keeping You Up at Night?: https://tinyurl.com/yc7pkdyk
More resources on forgiveness:
TED - How (and why) to forgive: https://tinyurl.com/mu2zep4f
Harvard Health - The Power of Forgiveness: https://tinyurl.com/2p9fden3
10% Happier - Writing a Forgiveness letter: https://tinyurl.com/mr5y624x
Tell us about your experiences letting go of a grudge by emailing us at [email protected]
or using the hashtag #happinesspod.
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