What 4 Relationship Experts Taught Me on Forgiving and Forgetting - SWAAY
Saima Noreen suspected that the link between forgiving and forgetting might be the mind's executive control system, specifically the ability to. Another common question involves the relationship between forgiving and forgetting. Does forgiveness mean we expunge the infraction from our memory?. “It's likely that the relationship between forgiveness and forgetting is bi-directional and far more complex over longer periods of time,” Noreen.
You are expelled from the university, but later your professor realizes you were telling the truth and tries to get you reinstated.
The Difference between Forgetting and Forgiving | Andrew Marin
The volunteers reacted to each of these hypothetical scenarios in various ways: How serious was the offense? How sympathetic were you toward the transgressor?
And finally—yes or no? Afterward, the volunteers all took part in a memory test, in which they actively tried to forget words associated with the incident. In some cases they had forgiven the transgressor involved in the incident, and in other cases not.
Forgive and Forget: Differences between Decisional and Emotional Forgiveness
And it did, clearly. When victims had forgiven their transgressor, they were much better at suppressing—intentionally forgetting—words linked to the transgressions. Specifically, our results demonstrate that emotional forgiveness leads to substantially higher levels of forgetting in respect to offense relevant traits compared to both decisional forgiveness and no forgiveness.
This provides evidence for our hypothesized effect that only individuals who have emotionally forgiven a transgression, and not those who just decided to forgive, subsequently forget offense relevant traits attributed to the transgressor.
However, while the title of the book suggests that forgiving and forgetting are strongly intertwined, their relationship has rarely been tested empirically. Thus, the focus of the present study is to investigate how different facets of forgiveness may influence forgetting. Theoreticians and researchers have used several different definitions of forgiveness [ 3 ].
There seems to be a general consensus that forgiveness is a complex phenomenon [ 4 ], which entails cognitive [ 5 ], affective [ 6 ], behavioral [ 7 ], motivational [ 8 ], decisional [ 9 ], and interpersonal e. However, there is disagreement whether empathy and the replacement of negative emotions with positive ones is a core aspect of forgiveness [ 11 ] or if the mere decision to forgiven is sufficient. Worthington and colleagues [ 312 ] emphasize the role of emotion in the forgiveness process by distinguishing between decisional and emotional forgiveness.
Decisional forgiveness is supposed to be a behavioral intention statement that one will eliminate revenge and avoidance and possibly restore interaction if the threat of future harm can be prevented. However, one may grant decisional forgiveness while still holding a grudge against the transgressor. Emotional forgiveness is the replacement of negative, unforgiving emotions with positive, other-oriented ones [ 13 ] for a review of empirical evidence in support of this distinction, see [ 14 ].
Likewise, emotion is considered an important aspect in several other models of forgiveness. Also, Enright and the Human Development Study Group [ 16 ] proposed that the forgiveness process incorporates the commitment to forgive the offender, which is usually a cognitive decision to forgive the other person, as well as an emotional forgiveness component, namely the decrease of negative and the increase of positive affect [ 17 ].
In their meta-analysis, Strelan and Covic [ 18 ] claim that several process models of forgiveness incorporate the decision to forgive or consider forgiving [ 15161920 ] as well as an understanding of, or empathy for, the offender [ 6151619 — 21 ].
Considering the role of emotions in the decision making process, research in this field was dominated by the view that decision making is merely a rational process, which involves Bayesian maximization of expected utility, and emotions are only distracting individuals from rational decision making see [ 23 ].
Nowadays, it is widely acknowledged that emotions serve adaptive functions because they prioritize certain goals and thereby mobilize energy and give direction to behavior [ 25 — 29 ]. In our view, just as decision making research has documented that behavioral choices can benefit from the joint interplay between emotional and cognitive processes, in the same way forgiveness might also benefit from an emotional commitment when forgiving another person.
Thus, we argue it may be an important first step to decide to forgive a transgression, but in order to truly forgive one has to also emphasize and feel at peace with the transgressor. While several theories incorporate decisional and emotional processes of forgiveness in their model, empirical evidence in respect to differences between these processes is rare.
This is particularly true for experimental research studies. Hardly any study has manipulated emotional versus decisional forgiveness and investigated consequences of these different forgiveness processes. Thus, the aim of the present study is to investigate differences between decisional and emotional forgiveness on cognitive processes involved in the forgiveness process, namely forgetting.
What 4 Relationship Experts Taught Me on Forgiving and Forgetting
Thus, forgetting negative offense-relevant characteristics of an offender may be a hint that one feels at peace with a transgressor. Given that forgiveness in its actual sense requires that an individual emotionally forgives another person, we suppose that emotional forgiveness leads to greater forgetting of these characteristics as opposed to decisional forgetting.
Indirect evidence for the interrelation of forgiving and forgetting has been provided by Rhoades et al. Conforming to the supposition that forgiveness should lead to forgetting, they found that those who had either decided to try to forgive or who had already forgiven the attackers experienced less involuntary engagement, that is intrusive thoughts, physiological arousal, and rumination, than did both the ambivalent and anti-forgiveness groups.
The Psychology of Forgiving and Forgetting
However, it has not been tested if those in the forgiveness condition only stopped actively engaging in thoughts about the event or indeed forgot details or aspects of the event. Moreover, forgiveness was measured rather than manipulated in this study, which does not allow for causal interpretations.
Our own research has revealed that the act of forgiveness itself can lead us to forget the offence in question. We asked 30 participants to imagine that an individual close to them had hurt them in some way — examples included being cheated on by a partner, accused of stealing by a work colleague, or lied to by a friend.
We trained them to forget these incidents, and found this was easier where the incident had previously been forgiven than if it had either not been forgiven or they had not been given instructions on whether to forgive it. Rumination risks The idea that memories can be modified and intentionally forgotten is not altogether new. For example Sigmund Freud alerted us to the possible links between our apparent ability to control or repress upsetting memories and the consequences of doing so for our physical and mental well-being.
Subsequent research in this field, however, has failed to provide unequivocal evidence of our ability to repress memory, and the idea is still a controversial one. And forgiveness may be an important means of achieving this.
Although the exact relationship between forgiveness and forgetting remains unclear, one possibility is that forgiveness may lower the tendency to ruminate or to constantly think about a particular offence. Rumination typically involves looking inwards and thinking negatively.The Difference between Forgiving & Forgetting. Rav Pinson. הרב פינסאן שליט''א