Forgiveness in a cultural setting - Deepstash

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What other cultures can teach us about forgiveness

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:

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 mean you step into your present rather than anchoring in the past.
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.

Define who and what
Identify the person who has affected you negatively.

Identify the specific behavior that damaged you. Consider the person as a whole with positive and negative behaviors. The person is not the behavior, but the behavior is a part of that person.

Let the feeling be felt
Any feelings that are attached to the damaging behavior need to be brought to the surface.

If you feel safe communicating with the person who hurt you, talk about your feelings or write them to him. 

Forgiveness is good for you

Many of us have anxious and negative attachments to people who have hurt us in the form of anger, hate, resentment, irrational guilt or shame.

Removing the negative attachment through forgiveness will make you feel liberated and open you to the positive that life has to offer.

Shame

Shame is a universal experience. Shame enforces adherence to beneficial social norms.

Shaming is a tool and can be used for good or evil. We should use it when the outcome has a greater benefit for society, and when formal means of punishment have been exhausted. Shaming should ultimately lead to reform and reintegration and act as a deterrent against bad behavior.

Guilt vs shame

Guilt is a private feeling of regret about something you did, and the discomfort leads to self-regulation regardless of exposure.

Shaming is about the possibility of being exposed to an audience.

Effective shaming

Shaming can give the weak greater power. It can be used as a tool to encourage structural changes of institutions, organizations, and powerful individuals by exposing a transgressor to public disapproval.