If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, that does not mean that you are not a good human. Forgiveness is sometimes hard to grant. Give yourself a little bit more patience, compassion, and grace so that one day, you can give them a little more of that too.
Free Training for Preparing Missionaries: Change Your Mission with this One Tool
Free Video Series: 3 Tools to Help RMs in Their Transition Home
Free Guide: 5 Tips to Help Any Returning Missionary
Free Strategy Call: Click Here
0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone, it’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 84. Forgiveness. I’m Jennie the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again, it’s time to embrace yourself, embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next. Hey, everyone, and welcome to the podcast. Today, we are going to talk about forgiveness. And I think that this is a topic that has many facets to it. And I want to be able to dive into those a little bit today and kind of share with you some of my thoughts about forgiveness and maybe give you some more tools to get to the place maybe, maybe not where you want to forgive someone. Now, let’s kind of talk about a couple things here. The reason that I decided to do this episode is because I’d started to notice it come up with a couple of my clients that they were kind of having a hard time letting go of some things that had happened to them, either with a companion or with a mission president or with a spouse, sometimes I actually work with moms of missionaries, so you can file that away somewhere. But I noticed sort of this pattern lately with my clients of not being able to forgive and also like wanting to forgive but not really knowing how. So I hope that we can kind of dive into some ideas around this. The the thing that kind of was the catalyst actually, for me to be like, Okay, we we really should do a podcast on forgiveness is I met up with a girl who is preparing to go on a mission, she hopped on a strategy call. And she was really pretty upset, because she knows she wants to go on a mission. And yet, something had happened in her past with a family member. That was really upsetting. And she just couldn’t figure out how to forgive her sister. Now, she was concerned that maybe if she didn’t forgive her sister or wasn’t able to let go of sort of that anger or disappointment, that she wouldn’t be an effective missionary. And so I think one of the very first things I want to put out there is that if you find yourself in this place where you haven’t been able to let go of past pain that may have been caused by an experience you had in the past, or if you are having a hard time sort of forgiving someone, that does not mean that you are not a good human, it does not mean that you can’t serve a mission, it does not mean that you can’t be loving and effective. And actually, ironically, be able to meet people where they are when you go out and talk to them on your mission. In some ways, and this is what I told this girl, that your experience that you had makes you more relatable, more empathetic. And actually people might be able to connect to you more. So I don’t really agree that you know, I know that we talk a lot about like, we got to raise the bar with missionaries and all of that kind of stuff. But you don’t have to be at this perfect state. In fact, none of us ever are. And what’s actually going on as we dive in a little bit more is you’re just having a motion. That might be hard to let go of, and that’s okay. Like sometimes it’s okay that we haven’t let go of that emotion and have not moved on and have not, you know, forgot, forgive and forget it. Now I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves because of this scripture that we find in Doctrine and Covenants, right? Where he says, In section 64, verse 10, he said, I, the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but if you it is required to forgive all men. So I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, to be able to do this, like quickly just like forgive, kind of change our minds about something, change the way we see something, like in an instant. And, and I am here to say that that is not always the case. I think sometimes it can be the case. But I actually like in thinking about it out loud, I would say that we’re all on the path to forgiving someone in our lives, and really figuring out how to forgive and love ourselves more. So if we waited for everybody, to feel perfectly forgiven perfectly, like full of love and compassion for someone who has harmed you, whether in small or large ways, I don’t know that any of us would ever go on a mission. So just know it’s okay. You can meet yourself where you are, and you can still be an amazing, effective, perhaps even more so effective missionary, then than you would have been. And so that is a really good thing to kind of think about. I sort of looked at a couple of like articles and things about forgiveness, to educate myself a little bit more and to kind of get a little bit more perspective. And so I wanted to share a couple of the things that I found. What I I’m pretty sure I found this, just like in the in an article by the Mayo Clinic, that forgiveness involves an intentional decision to let go of resentment and anger. Now I know that resentment and anger are not our favorite place to be. Those aren’t aren’t favorite emotions to feel, but also not wrong. Okay, so that is how you can just be kind to yourself and meet yourself where you are. The Mayo Clinic also said, letting go of grudges. And bitterness can make way for improve health and peace of mind. So I don’t know if you’re like me, but I always categorize things into the thoughts that create the feelings that drive the action. So the letting go of grudges in our action line can make way for improve health, which might be a circumstance and peace. Peace would maybe be a feeling peace of mind would be maybe some thoughts around that create the emotion of peace. And then it gives all these awesome sort of byproducts of forgiveness. And it says we can have healthier relationships, improved mental health, less anxiety, stress and hostility, fewer symptoms of depression, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, improve heart health and Improve Self Esteem. So there’s so many benefits to forgiving. And I think maybe that’s why the Lord has commanded us to forgive, because it it makes way for such like healing, emotions, and emotions that can heal us. Okay. So um, I also found this article in greater online, it’s called the greater good magazine. And it’s an article by Robert and right. He’s a psychologist that kind of specializes in forgiveness. And I want to read to you what He said He said forgiveness about is about goodness, about extending mercy to those who’ve harmed us, even if they don’t, quote unquote, deserve it. It is not about finding excuses for the offending person’s behavior or pretending it didn’t happen. Nor is there a super quick formula you can follow. Forgiveness is a process and often happens in a non linear fashion. So I think it’s important to
9:40 make a distinction between forgiving someone like extending them mercy, and also just reconciling with someone and saying, you know, sometimes what’s actually true is we can forgive someone, maybe if it’s someone from our past past maybe if it’s someone that maybe it doesn’t feel mentally or emotionally safe to go back into that situation that we can forgive that person without, like, saying what they did was okay, or even going back into that situation we forgiveness is something that we can do for ourselves, we can fill ourselves up with love and compassion and mercy. And that is not a denial of what happened. It can be this thing happened, and I’m ready to move on and feel something different. So there are a couple steps that they gave to figure out how to get to forgiveness in the same article. And I’ll read those two now. And then we’re gonna kind of I’m gonna debunk, not debunk, but I’m gonna, we’re gonna kind of dive into each one a little bit. And, for me, it’s always really important to know the how, like, I know that we know we’re supposed to forgive. And I’m gonna read to these you these steps. And, and sometimes we might just be like, okay, yeah, I get that. But how do I do that. And so, number one, this is the same guy, Robert and right who says, uncover your anger by exploring how you’ve avoided or address the emotion. So you got to first acknowledge right, then number two, make a decision to forgive. Begin by acknowledging that ignoring or coping with the offense hasn’t worked, and therefore forgiveness might provide a path forward is what he says. Number three, cultivate forgiveness by developing compassion for the offender, meaning the person who offended you reflect on whether the act was due to malicious intent or circumstances in the offender’s life. And number four, release the harmful emotions and reflect on how you may have grown from the experience and the act of forgiveness itself. And so I think it is important to realize that these steps don’t necessarily like happen chronologically. They don’t they they’re not supposed to look any certain way. I think it’s a process of kind of bouncing around from here to there. And we might go here for a while, and then there for a while. But let’s kind of talk about what some of these things might look like. So number one, when he says uncover your anger by exploring how you’ve avoided or addressed the emotion, one thing that I’m starting to kind of pay a lot of attention to is this idea of how I’m sometimes dismissive of my experience. So if someone has said something, to me, that feels hurtful in some way, then I’m just like, Oh, it’s okay. They don’t know better, like it’s fine. And it doesn’t matter. Like I just forgive them. Right? I think that we do ourselves a disservice when we’re dismissive about the experience that we’re having. So the first step about uncovering Your anger is just being like, listen, that made me mad. I was mad and, and it’s okay, that I felt that way. And it actually makes sense that I felt mad. And maybe even I’ve been ignoring my anger for a while and trying to be dismissive about my experience. But I’m ready to kind of own that. That’s the experience that I did have. So, also be careful about being dismissive about someone else’s behavior. Right? Like, sometimes it’s sort of like, oh, they didn’t know better or whatever. And that is not necessarily useful, either. It’s this idea, like, yeah, that thing happened. This was the experience I had, this is what was going on at the time, and maybe it was wrong. And so not to justify the way that you’re feeling or justify the way that they’re feeling. And not be dismissive of any of it, like your experience is your experience. We don’t have to make excuses for you. We don’t have to make excuses for the other person. So number two, he says is just to make a decision to forgive. And, again, like I kind of mentioned already, is that I always put stuff in the model that I’ve taught you guys which is you know, your circumstance and then you have a thought and that thought creates your feeling. You’re feeling drives your set of actions and then your actions will lead to a result. So putting, I like to put forgiveness as one of my actions. So if a feel if, if I forget my action of extending Mercy to someone, or forgiving someone happens in my action line, then that means it’s driven by a feeling. Remember, our feelings are like gas in the car. So what it’s interesting to kind of consider what would be some of the feelings that we would need to be feeling in order to take the action of forgiving someone or extending mercy. So some of the emotions that we might need to be feeling is compassion, we might need to be feeling love, we might need to be feeling curiosity, we might be need to be feeling abundant, we might need to be feeling I don’t know, grateful, there could be a whole bunch of emotions that we might need to feel that would be the right fuel to forgive someone. Now notice how if we had a different fuel, like obligation, or resentment, or bitterness, if we had one of those emotions, like driving our forgiveness, it’s, it’s not going to feel the same, it’s not going to be as healing and it’s most likely going to be hard to you know, take that action from the place that you want to take that action from an actually habit change you. So just play with like, what emotion you’re feeling, remember, none of them are wrong. And if you’re not at a place where you’re feeling the emotion, you want to feel that’s okay. But one of the ways that we can get there is to start to create, choose intentionally thoughts that create the emotions we want to create. Okay? So thoughts that create love for you. First, and then maybe thoughts that create love for the other person. Thoughts, if you can’t get to love thoughts that create compassion for yourself first, and then maybe thoughts that would create compassion for the other person, thoughts that would create acceptance for yourself first. And then what thoughts would create acceptance maybe for the other person, and maybe thoughts that create curiosity for yourself about your experience, and then thoughts that create curiosity about the other person. So remember, if you want to, and if it feels true to you that forgiving is something that we do extending mercy would be something that we do so what is the thought and feeling you want driving that action, and chances are pretty good if you can get to a place where you align your thought and feeling, then that forgiveness, and that extending mercy will just come automatically. Okay. Number three, he said, to cultivate forgiveness by developing compassion for the offender. So we’re kind of talking about that already, is how to generate that compassion. And the one of the ways that I like to do this is I like to do this use this tool called other people’s models, and instead of just being focused on what my thought and feeling and action are, sometimes I like to take my clients to, okay, what is their thought, feeling? And action? Okay, so if I have a client who is just, their sister just recently returned home from the mission, and he’s a little annoyed that the sister is showing up in this certain way. Or,
18:49 you know, maybe keeps flaking or saying like, I want, you know, I want to meet up with you, and then she doesn’t meet up. What we have a tendency to do if we’re the older brother is just to be like, Oh, what’s wrong with her there? That’s so lame. Like, why can’t she show up differently? And instead, what we can do is we can explore what her model might look like, What is she thinking and feeling that would cause her to take that action? And what we might find is that the other person is feeling like if they keep flaking, because they’re not, you know, being where they say they were going to be, maybe they’re feeling overwhelmed. And then the question is, okay, so if they’re feeling overwhelmed, if that’s their fuel, what is the thought driving that overwhelm? And it could be, especially if she’s recently returned home, like, I don’t know what I’m doing. This all feels really hard. So interesting to just play with like most of the time, we won’t actually know what someone else’s thought feeling and action are. But I think it can introduce a lot of insight, awareness and compassion, when we understand what the other person might be going through, what we find is when we get in someone else’s model and kind of play with that a little bit, what we usually find is, number one, their behavior has nothing to do with you most, like 98% of the time, I don’t know that sounds ridiculous, I’m not gonna give a percentage to it. That sounds way, like committing to something that I’m not ready to commit to. But I would say the majority of the time, I feel good saying that their emotion has nothing to do with you. Which means their action also has nothing to do with you. So um, this is where I think this makes a lot of sense that in this article, where Robert Enright says, cultivate forgiveness by developing compassion for the offender, it’s like, it’s this thought it sounds a lot like, Gosh, I wonder what’s going on for them. This isn’t really like them. Or maybe it is like them. But I wonder why. And then the other really fascinating thing about looking at what’s going on in someone else’s model, especially in this example I’ve shared with you is usually whatever they’re feeling is similar to what you’re feeling. So notice how even in this example that I shared with you, the older brother was feeling overwhelm. And then when we went in and looked at what was going on for this sister, she’s overwhelmed too. And so I think it’s just good to show ourselves that like, Oh, they’re having the same emotion, just from a different experience. And we all sort of think that someone shouldn’t be who they are. Like, she shouldn’t be overwhelmed. But when I noticed, like, oh, wait, I’m feeling overwhelmed about her overwhelm. Then we’re like, Oh, yep, I guess I’m human, too. They’re human. I’m human. It’s all good. So the fourth thing he had said, was to release the harmful emotion and reflect on how you may have grown from the experience and the act of forgiveness itself. This one, I think, is a lot of just allowing emotion, right. And the way that I, I’ve taught you here on the podcast, if you need a refresher, go all the way back to episode number three, I believe it’s called all the fields. And I’ll give you a crash course on how to actually feel your feelings. The tricky part is, the more we resist those feelings, right? The more we dismiss our experience, the more actually like pull or grab that our past has on us. So I think just being able to learn how to really, like when you feel angry, just like maybe feel angry, and not like act out on it don’t become like a rage monster. But just like get into your body, what does this actually feel like to feel angry or annoyed or frustrated or hurt? And then let that I heard this analogy recently, instead of letting that like, land on you, and like, stay with you, can you be a screen. So picture like a Windows screen and how you would let that emotion go through you. And remember, our heavenly parents have created our bodies so that we can feel all of the emotions. So just being able to really process through and move through those emotions. Now, in here, they suggest like reflecting on how you may have grown from the experience, I think, is pretty like a high level thing that many of us maybe won’t be ready for. And I think sometimes we mistakenly say, Well, what did you learn from that? Well, what did you learn from that? And, and sometimes we can’t articulate it. And I think that’s okay. I think sometimes things just change us. They just change us because we get to reflect on who we are. We get to reflect on the human experience, we get to reflect on the way that our savior is the Savior to all of us, no matter what, like he, no one has sunk too low. And so if you’re feeling ready to kind of dive into how you’ve grown, that’s great. If not, I think it’s okay, like just like, we can be like that was hard and I’m and I don’t really want to like articulate all the reason I’ve changed. All the ways I’ve changed. I mean, and all the things I’ve learned but I think maybe at some point you might be able to I look back and know that, you know, from a different vantage point. So a couple things I want to just offer you here, too, before I wrap up is when we’re sort of at odds with someone or feeling like we can’t let go of sort of this resentment, or bitterness that we might feel sort of like this girl that I talked to this preparing missionary, I want to encourage you to stay out of the shame, blame trap. So what happens is we blame the person for the way we feel like, quote, unquote, they hurt us, right? Or then we’re like, oh, well, no, there must be something wrong with me. Because I still feel so hurt. And none of those things have to be true. Like, instead of being in the shame, blame trap, we can just be like, okay, she’s human, I’m human. And we’re all just doing the best we can. If you’re interested in learning more about the shame blame trap, I do, I did do an episode on that episode 61. It’s called when you’re in a mental seesaw. So if you’re interested in learning how to stay out of that trap, you can listen more there. So the second thing, one more thing, well, two more things I want to offer you make room for the word. And so what I mean by this is, like we can feel hurt and still serve a mission and still show up in our lives the way we want to, we can feel overwhelmed, by the way our bosses treated us and frustrated with that, and still show up to work and be the kind of person that we want to be. This is just a journey. Right? We’re all on this journey. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how, with this forgiveness piece, we’re just going to kind of ping pong around, like, if I’m picturing an old video, I used to play but like, it was like this paddle board at the bottom, right. And then we come back home, and then we like, which would be the bottom paddle board, and we come back home to ourselves, and then we kind of go back out into the world. And then, you know, we kind of forgive and then we’re moving on, and then we’re feeling we feel like full of love and compassion, then we come back down and, and it’s just, it doesn’t have to be linear, this process of forgiveness, it probably won’t be, and you can still show up in your life the way you want to, if you make room for yourself, if you make room to love yourself through this process. First of all, it’ll move a lot more quickly, right? Because we won’t be in resistance to what’s true, we won’t be dismissive. But um, also, when we fill ourselves up with love ourselves up with love. It’s easier to extend that to other people, when we fill ourselves up with curiosity and compassion. Okay, so the last little thing that I will add here is sometimes guys, we just gotta pray.
28:23 Yeah, and you guys know that I’m an active believing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I believe in the power of our Savior, to bring us peace. And peace is a feeling I like to think of it as a feeling that comes from thoughts like, he’s got my back, he can heal me. Someday, this will all be made, right. And I can do all things through Christ. Right? So sometimes, in fact, often I feel like, we’re going to need that additional power to change our thinking, and to change our hearts so that we can move to the action of forgiveness. But don’t be in a rush to get there. Don’t make it mean that you can’t be the kind of person that you want to be. You totally can. All right, you guys. I hope that this all helped you. I hope that you guys know how much I’m thinking about you sending you have so much love. Let me know if I can help you further or in any way just go ahead and reach out to me. Alright, everyone have the most amazing week. Take care. Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can present a unique set of challenges, and many of those challenges you might not even see coming. So you’re gonna want a unique set of solutions. It’s easier than you think to overcome worry and anxiety serve the successful mission you all He’s dreamed up and navigate your posts mission experience with confidence. That is why I created some amazing free goodies that I’m sharing in my show notes. Maybe you want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries, my video course for RMS or maybe you and I should hop on a free strategy call. If you’re ready to take your preparedness to serve or your preparedness to come home to the next level. Then go grab one of those freebies. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you are involved in, just know that Jenny, the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day