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What other cultures can teach us about forgiveness

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20201109-what-other-cultures-can-teach-us-about-forgiveness

bbc.com

What other cultures can teach us about forgiveness
Forgiving someone else can have a positive effect on your life, but exactly how you forgive someone depends on where in the world you are from.

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The positive impact of forgiveness

The positive impact of forgiveness

Forgiving someone can reduce our stress levels, risk of heart disease and mental illness. It can prevent cognitive decline in later life, help you earn more money, and be happier.

Forgiveness is part of every culture, but how we choose to offer forgiveness are affected by our cultures and our personal psychologies.

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Forgiveness should be culturally appropriate

Individualists use forgiveness to relieve a burden and clear their conscience while collectivists use forgiveness to preserve social harmony, even if the individual still feels resentment towards their transgressor.

Western countries like the US or the UK tend to have more individualistic cultures, meaning personal gain is put before helping the wider group. In collectivistic cultures like Asia and Africa, the group is put first.

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Two separate types of forgiveness

  • Decisional forgiveness is colder, cognitive, and analytical. The collectivist is concerned with what is the best thing for everyone else.
  • Emotional forgiveness is offered to satisfy an emotional need and is more common in individualistic people.

The separate types of forgiveness are sometimes used to explain the difference between collectivistic and individualistic approaches.

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Forgiveness in a cultural setting

  • In many languages, "forgiveness" does not translate well. Ghana, for example, has more than 50 languages, which makes choosing a definition for "forgiveness" tricky.
  • It is normal for a younger person in Ghana to offer forgiveness to an older person and hide their annoyance, even if the older person is at fault.
  • With couples in Ghana, an act of forgiveness is accompanied by physical gestures, such as kneeling, prostrating, clasping their hands. Simply saying sorry is not enough.
  • Chinese cultures are not used to the term 'forgiveness'. Translated into Mandarin Chinese, [kuānshù] is quite formal and gives the impression that the committed offence was very serious.

It is then important to be considerate of other people's differences, whether it is a result of their culture or worldview.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Understanding

The first step in forgiveness is to understand "why" someone acts the way they do. What are they trying to protect? What are they afraid of? What basic skills did they learn (or not learn) ...

Feel and express your emotions

Until we fully release our emotions, they continue to affect our present mindset.

  • Do anger work. Allow yourself to be fully disappointed, sad or depressed. Talk about it.
  • Write a letter. Purging emotions out on paper give them a place to live outside of yourself.
  • Talk to the person (if possible). This is only helpful if it is safe for you to speak with the person. It is usually not effective when you are angry or until you have processed your emotions significantly on your own.

Rebuild safety

Create new boundaries for yourself within the relationship.

This may mean you no longer see the person, end the relationship or establish new guidelines.

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Forgiveness

  • Forgiveness is choosing to accept what happened as it happened rather than what could or should have happened. 
  • Forgiveness can mean that you let go. 
  • Forgiveness can...

Forgiveness is a process

Forgiveness takes time for most. Shock and anger often come before forgiveness. Deal with the hurt feelings before moving into forgiveness.

The act of forgiving is one of realizing that holding onto the anger and resentment no longer carries the same weight on us.

Forgiveness ≠ weakness

One roadblock people face with forgiveness is the idea of being seen as "weak" and saying that what the offender did is excusable.

It requires more strength to forgive. Staying angry, resentful, and vengeful can have a detrimental impact on your physical and emotional health as well as your relationships.

What forgiveness is

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or minimising the pain we feel; nor is it about excusing others. 

Forgiveness means making a conscious and deliberate decision to let go of our fe...

A proper apology

One thing that often helps people to forgive is receiving an apology.

A good apology ideally has three parts: an admission of responsibility, a demonstration of sorrow, and doing something to remedy the offence, or prevent a repetition of it. 

Apologies and understanding

An apology is not telling others we feel sorry they are angry it is telling them we understand why they are angry with us, regret making them feel that way, and wanting to take their anger away. 

An effective apology is showing the person we understand why they are hurting.