What has been making you smile lately?
There are still several of you who have responded with questions Here is another one.
“Hey Dr. Lou, I enjoy the questions/topics you normally write about but one thing I have a very hard time doing is moving on…
Do you have to forgive or accept to be able to move forward?”
This is a great question and one which most of have struggled with at one time or another. I believe there are several steps involved in order to “move on”.
The first step involves a decision to move on. Sometimes the decision is done over time. It can come from being tired or after anger/resentment has waned. If you want to move on sooner, however, I suggest you make a conscious and intentional decision, “I want to move on”. The next step involves exploring the various ways you would be acting and thinking about after you have moved on. Keep in mind that it is easier to get somewhere when you know the address. If you want to move on, try to picture and describe what that would look like. How would you be different? This leads to another step, which involves identifying the various benefits and advantages to moving on. The more we focus on these benefits, the more we are able to support our decision to move on. Another step involves making a plan. If we have an idea of how we would be acting and thinking, that becomes the plan. In order to increase the likelihood of being successful with our plan, break it into achievable steps. Some ways to make it achievable is by breaking things down into as many steps as you can think of. Schedule when you will complete each step. Write down each step and cross off each one as you do it. Praise yourself after you complete each step. Share your plan with one or two of your supports and let them know how you are doing.
Before I answer whether you have to forgive or accept, I believe it’s important to point out that accepting can be different than forgiving. You need to define what you mean by forgiveness as well as accepting. If you believe that accepting is the same as agreeing with, then it depends on what you are trying to move on from as to whether or not accepting will be helpful or needed. If someone has abused you, I don’t believe accepting/agreeing with them would be helpful. However, forgiveness can help. Most people who do forgive have reported to me that it is beneficial. That being said, however, I don’t believe it is a requirement. If you are struggling with forgiveness and believe that you “have to forgive” in order to move on I would ask you, “what if you don’t have to forgive?”. If you give yourself the freedom and flexibility to not be forgiving, then what? Use the steps I have described regardless of whether or not you feel ready to forgive. Perhaps, you will eventually be ready to forgive. Until then, however, start living the life you want and being how you want to be. Describe how you want to move on and start today. You deserve it.
~ Dr. Lou