“Forgiveness does not mean we forget a violation or injustice and allow it to reappear in our lives. However, every story has many perspectives, and it may be that the truth of our story can reveal our strength, not just our weakness and vulnerability. Viktor Frankl’s five years in Auschwitz and other concentration camps could have buried him in a personal story of abuse, bitterness, and anger. Instead, he used the experience to write Man’s Search for Meaning, a book about finding purpose and meaning in life’s most difficult circumstances. Even when Frankl was close to death in a concentration camp, he did not dwell on the horrific circumstances but maintained a focus on his strengths and his desire to complete his manuscript, and this kept him alive.
What is the alternate story of your experience, and what does it reveal about you? What strengths have you developed? Difficult experiences often call upon our tenacity, hope, cooperation, resourcefulness, adaptability, belief in ourselves, commitment to a goal or purpose, love, generosity, and compassion, as well as our humor, among other qualities. To this list, we can add the strength of extending forgiveness.”
Donald Altman, in “One Minute Mindfulness”
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