Pisces – Physical – Root: FORGIVENESS

It can be said that all psychological definitions of forgiveness seem to focus on a common factor: when subjects forgive, their behaviors (thoughts, feelings, actions) towards the object of forgiveness become more positive. Forgiving implies an internal and at the same time prosocial change towards a figure or situation perceived as transgressor, in the context of an interpersonal bond. Forgiveness implies both an intrapsychic and an interpersonal subjective dimension, which is why it is suggested to think of forgiveness as a psychosocial construct; religious, ideological-political, cultural, and socio-historical variables exert enormous influence on its definition and acceptance.

Not all authors agree in considering forgiveness as beneficial. For some, forgiveness makes subjects more vulnerable to re-victimization in interpersonal relationships when there have been experiences of abuse and mistreatment. For the need for forgiveness to appear, there must have been a transgression. The subject’s bond with the transgressor, the transgression and its aftermath can be transformed from negative to neutral or positive. The source of the transgression, the object of forgiveness, may be the subject himself, other people or a situation perceived as beyond personal control (terminal illness, fate, a catastrophe, a violation of a basic human right).

In a certain way, when we refer to the possibility or not of forgiving, we allude to the possible modification of certain bonds of attachment between a victim and the person he perceives as his victimizer, as well as to the consequences of his actions. The person who forgives tries to transform the negative valence of the bond and combines this modification with a weakening of the type of bond. The self, a situation and other people can be the object of forgiveness. It is important to note that the psychological action of forgiving does not exclude the option of claiming justice if the motivation for such a claim is not simply vindictive. In general terms, feelings of revenge reveal a negative attachment style and an inability to forgive.

For Ricoeur (2004) the effects of a fault (damage, wound) and its possible forgiveness cross all the constitutive operations of memory, history and mark the forgetting of what happened in a very particular way. Forgiveness, says the French thinker, if it makes sense and exists, constitutes the common horizon of memory, history and forgetting.

It is as difficult to give forgiveness as it is to receive it; it is also difficult to conceive it, because it exposes the place of moral accusation. Such a lack is the existential presupposition of forgiveness given the historical condition and the personal and collective experience inevitably marked by the cultural history of every human subject. The lived experience (harassment, harm, injury) is essentially given at the level of feelings, of affective states. This leads to the territory of imputability. The subject is linked to the accusation and becomes responsible for it; one can only speak of forgiveness where one can accuse someone and this someone is always an agent who can do so in various ways: speaking, narrating, acting, imagining.

I invite everyone to read Matías’ post with the topic of the day.

Finally, I encourage everyone to reflect on the concept of the day. No one else but us can re-signify our own being

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