The Myth of Forgiveness – HPP 41

Keith Kurlander, MA, LPC

Keith recognizes that forgiveness is most often used as a way for people to move on from tough situations in life. In some case that actually seems to be true. However, after speaking with many clients over the years and a lot of exploration around the topic with other professionals, he has identified some myths about forgiveness, how it can hurt more than help, and other ways to move on from troubles in the past.

Forgiveness seems altruistic by nature. At first glance it appears to be an act of kindness. But what if it was more self-serving than one might think? When speaking with your clients, it is very important to dive into their history in order to see if there are underlying resentments. Focusing on the reasoning behind forgiveness–such as underlying resentments–can help people stop a perpetual loop of blame and move them into a place of empowerment.

Even though forgiveness in some cases seems to be useful, it often just perpetuates a cycle of pain. Can you imagine a life without needing to forgive anyone, as if the power to move on from past hurts was truly in your own hands?

Show Notes:

Where the concept of forgiveness comes from [0:45}

The problems with using forgiveness as a tool for empowerment [1:45]

Why we feel the need to forgive [2:45]

A new definition of forgiveness [6:45]

Optimism is sometimes forgiveness in disguise [12:00]

Why it’s so important to take responsibility for your inner experience [17:30]

Keith Kurlander, MA, LPC

Keith Kurlander is the founder of Higher Practice, a company dedicated to helping therapists achieve their highest potential in private practice. He has two decades of combined experience in business administration, group facilitation, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level, yoga instruction and as a licensed professional counselor in private practice.