Forgiveness (Understanding, Aspects, Types, Stages, and Influencing Factors)

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness (apologizing or forgiving) is an effort, action, or willingness to eliminate or reduce negative judgments, feelings, or behaviors towards events and consequences resulting from actions or violations committed by someone by showing compassion, peace, and love.

It is a process that occurs within a person where the person who has been hurt is able to free himself from the feelings of anger, hatred, and fear and does not want revenge. Forgiveness is characterized by individuals no longer avoiding and maintaining distance, not having negative emotions, and not having the desire to take revenge, as well as the emergence of a desire to do good and make peace with people who have done hurtful actions.

The following is the definition and understanding of forgiveness or forgiving from several book sources:

  • McCullough, Worthington, and Rachal (1997), forgiveness is a series of changes in a person’s motivation to reduce the motivation to take revenge, the motivation to distance oneself or avoid the hurting person and increase the motivation to do good and make peace with those who have done the hurtful act.
  • McCullough, Fincham, and Tsang (2003), forgiveness is an attempt to overcome the negative impact and judgment on the person who hurt, by not avoiding the pain but by showing compassion, peace, and love.
  • Wade and Worthington (2005), forgiveness is an action to overcome negative feelings, negative cognitions, and negative behavior when injustice occurs to him, it may also involve a positive response to those who hurt him.
  • Thompson (2005), forgiveness is an effort to place the perceived violation event in such a way that a person’s response to the perpetrator, event, and result of the violation is changed from negative to neutral or positive.
  • Setyana (2013), forgiveness is a person’s ability to reduce or eliminate negative feelings and assessments of something that has hurt him so that it changes a person’s response to the perpetrator, events, and the consequences of these events are changed from negative to neutral or positive, and make a person more positive. comfortable in the environment.
  • Nashori (2014), forgiveness is a willingness to leave unpleasant things that come from interpersonal relationships with other people and to cultivate positive thoughts, feelings, and interpersonal relationships with other people who commit violations unintentionally. fair.

Aspects of Forgiveness

According to Lopez and Snyder (2003), forgiveness behavior consists of three aspects of motivation, namely:

  1. Avoidance motivations, Decreased motivation to avoid personal and psychological contact with the abuser. The victim will throw away his desire to keep his distance from the person who has hurt him (the perpetrator). So, the victim does not avoid or stay away from the perpetrator, he will still try to maintain a close relationship.
  2. Revenge motivations, Decreased motivation to take revenge or see the danger coming to the offender. That is, the victim will throw away his desire to avenge the actions that have been done by the perpetrator. The victim will try to minimize anger to take revenge on the perpetrator who has hurt him.
  3. Benevolence motivations, Increased motivation to do good with the perpetrator. Even though the subject feels like a victim, the subject still wants to do good to the perpetrator. So the subject in this situation will still maintain a good relationship with the perpetrator.

Meanwhile, according to Zechmeister and Romero (2002), the aspects of forgiveness behavior are as follows:

  1. Cognitive aspects, Is an individual’s cognitive response that is consciously carried out when the individual is able to replace his legitimacy against others and replace it with a response that leads to conciliation. Forgiving behavior is given completely and does not expect anything in return.
  2. Affective Aspect, Is an emotional response raised by someone in developing forgiveness behavior. This emotional response is in the form of empathy for what the individual feels.
  3. Behavioral Aspects, Is a behavioral response raised by individuals to forgive others. Talking about solutions to the problems faced that allow the emergence of forgiving behavior is a process to develop forgiving behavior.

Types of Forgiveness

According to Baumeister, Exline, and Somer (1998), the forms of forgiveness are divided into four types, namely as follows:

a. Hollow forgiveness
This form of forgiveness occurs when the offended party can express forgiveness concretely through behavior but the offended party has not been able to feel and live the forgiveness within him. The offended party still holds a grudge and hatred even though he has told the offending party that he has forgiven.

b. Silent forgiveness
This form of forgiveness occurs when intrapsychic forgiveness is felt but not expressed through actions in interpersonal relationships. The offended party no longer harbors feelings of anger, resentment, hatred towards the hurting party but does not express it. The offended party allows the hurting party to continue to feel guilty and continue to act as if he is still guilty.

c. Total forgiveness
In this form of forgiveness, the offended party eliminates feelings of disappointment, hatred, or anger towards the hurting party about his mistake, then the relationship between the offended party and the hurting person recovers completely as before the situation before the painful event occurred.

d. No forgiveness
In this condition, forgiveness does not occur to the offended party. This situation occurs because the offended party has misperceived forgiveness, here are the misperceptions that are the factors causing No forgiveness in a person:

  1. Claims on Reward Benefit, the offended party feels that he is entitled to a reward or benefit before he has to forgive. Because he thinks that the party who hurt him already has a debt to pay for hurting him.
  2. To Prevent Recurrence, forgiveness is considered to increase the possibility of painful events experienced by the offended party in the future. If forgiveness is not given to those who hurt, then the injured party can continue to increase the perpetrators who hurt them not to repeat their actions.
  3. Continued Suffering, the injured party continues to suffer because the painful events experienced by the injured party in the past affect their relationship with the hurting party in the future, so forgiveness is something that is difficult to do.
  4. Pride and Revenge, the offended party feels that by apologizing to the hurting party, he or she has done an act that humiliated him or her and even shows the low self-esteem of the offended party.
  5. Principal Refusal, the offended party assesses forgiveness as the release of the perpetrator from the court. The offended party is afraid that he will not be able to get legal protection if he has forgiven the person who hurt him.

Stages of Forgiveness

According to Orcutt, Pickett, and Pope (2005), there are several processes or stages in forgiving behavior or forgiveness in a person, namely as follows:

a. Uncovering phase
The forgiveness process involves feeling unfairly hurt by an individual who is filled with negative emotional experiences and the pain associated with injury. Negative emotions (unforgiveness) must be confronted and deeply understood before the healing process begins. The things that happen at this stage are:

  1. Examination of psychological defense mechanisms.
  2. Confronting anger is not hiding anger.
  3. Admit shame.
  4. The victim is aware of the amount of energy expended as a result of the painful event.
  5. Be aware of recurring thoughts about painful events.
  6. The idea arises that the victim can compare himself to the perpetrator.
  7. Realize that the victim experiences permanent changes due to the painful event.
  8. The victim realized that her view of justice had changed.

b. Decision phase
The individual realizes that focusing continuously on the hurt and the abuser can only result in continued suffering. Possibility of forgiveness is done as a strategy for healing and the individual makes a commitment to forgive the offender. Based on this commitment, forgiveness work begins and in this phase, the thoughts, feelings, and concerns for revenge against the perpetrator are released. The things that happen at this stage are:

  1. A change of heart, a new understanding that the old solution strategies cannot bring the expected results.
  2. Willingness to consider forgiveness as an option.
  3. Commitment to forgive the perpetrator.

c. work phase
The forgiveness stage often involves changing perceptions of the perpetrator, perhaps by placing the incident in the context of the offender’s life, in an effort that is not based on the perpetrator’s responsibility but rather accepts the perpetrator as a member of the human community. The offended person chooses to offer some form of the good deed (private and/or public) to the offender. The things that happen at this stage are:

  1. Restructuring, reinterpreting painful events experienced through taking the role of the actor by looking at the context.
  2. Empathy for the perpetrator.
  3. Awareness that forgiveness requires acceptance of the wounds experienced.
  4. Forgiveness is given as a moral reward for the offender.

d. Outcome/Deepening phase
Forgiving individuals make a person aware of the positive emotional benefits he will receive from the forgiveness process. In general, individuals find meaning in the healing they experience so that in this last phase the individual experiences the paradox of forgiveness, as an attitude towards unfair pain and giving generously to others, people who have been healed. The things that happen at this stage are:

  1. Finding meaning for self and others in suffering and during the forgiveness process.
  2. Stating that you need forgiveness from others in the past.
  3. The thought arises that the victim feels that he is not alone (universal and supportive).
  4. Gaining a new purpose in life because of his suffering.
  5. The realization that negative feelings are being replaced with positive feelings, these positive feelings are liberating, beneficial for the victim.

Factors Affecting Forgiveness

According to McCullough et al (1997), there are several factors that are considered as determinants of forgiveness or forgiveness in someone, namely:

a. Social cognitive determinant
Cognitive social determinants include affective empathy for others which is facilitated by an assessment of responsibility and the possibility to blame others as well as an assessment of sincerity. Attribution given to others is one of the factors of empathy and forgiving behavior. Another determinant is the existence of personal thoughts, images, and affections related to interpersonal disputes that can cause individuals to take revenge or refuse.

b. Offense related determinant
This determinant arises when the individual perceives that what is felt by the individual for the conflict that occurs causes suffering for him, it will be more difficult for him to be able to forgive.

c. Relational determinant
Another factor that influences forgiving behavior is the extent to which a person has closeness to the party who is in conflict with him. This is much influenced by the relationship between forgiveness behavior and motivation to relate interpersonally with others.

d. Personality determinant
Influential personality determinants include one’s understanding of the concept of forgiveness, one’s attitude towards revenge efforts, the response that arises when feeling angry, the norm of religiosity as a tool to reduce behavior that leads to conflict.