- Are you holding a grudge against someone? Do you live with grievances in your life?
- How does feelings of unforgiveness or bitterness influence your happiness, sense of peace and joy?
- What does forgiveness mean to you and what are the main reasons you resist to forgive someone you has hurt you?
- How do you treat yourself in terms of forgiveness? Are you beating yourself up for mistakes you have made in the past?
- What are some concrete steps you could take today to move from bitterness to forgiveness?
As coaches we can effectively support our clients on their journey to forgiveness by helping them understand what forgiveness is and what it is not. Talking about the present emotions, fears, and misunderstandings will help the client get a better understanding of the situation. Often it is crucial for them to have their story heard in a non-judgmental way as a first step towards their healing process. We as coaches, however, do not take on these strongemotions, but remain neutral and objective and by doing so we open the door for the client to explore different ways of looking at the situation, making them aware that they always have a choice in how they want to see things, helping them realize that we are not the victims of our circumstances, but that we are actually very powerful and resourceful.
Letting go of past resentments towards others and regrets about themselves is a lifechanging process and will lead the client to more peace, happiness, and joy in their lives as well as better self esteem and self love.
Exercises to use for forgiveness work with clients:
- Writing letters to the person(s) who hurt the client, acknowledging emotions, pain, grief, anger, etc. and journaling about the situation
- Mirror Exercise: The client is sitting in front of a mirror (with a huge box of tissues) and faces him/herself while she brings people in his/her memory that he/she wants to forgive.
- Making a list of people the client wants to forgive, holding the image of each person in their mind and affirming “I fully and completely forgive _____________ for_________________. I release the need to hold on to any anger, resentment, or bitterness I hold towards ___________________________ and I am hereby free.”
- Guided Imagery, Visualization where we invite spirit guides, angels or other religious figures according to the client’s belief system to assist with the forgiveness process
- What is your role as coach leading a client through the forgiveness process?
- What are some questions you could ask your client to help them shift from bitterness to forgiveness?
- How could your own issues with bitterness interfere with a client’s forgiveness process?
- If forgiveness will set you free, what will bitterness do for you in your role as a coach?
- What can you do if a client seems to be stuck in bitterness and does not want to make the choice to forgive in his/her life?
As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative
force. I decided to follow the latter course.
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Jampolsky, Gerald. Forgiveness: The Greatest Healer of All
Berke, Diane. Forgiveness as a Path of Awakening
Berke, Diane. Understanding & Working with Forgiveness (OSLA, InterSpiritual Counseling)
Foundation for Inner Peace. A Course in Miracles