Cathartic Forgiveness

Activity by Fredrik Mansfield

Need: Something to write on and with; fire

Approximate time: 10 minutes

Goal: The goal of this activity is to recognize the healing power of forgiveness and use catharsis as a tool to process the pain, suffering, and oppression that has been left unforgiven or that with which one has not yet come to terms.

Activity: People in a group or individually (preferably a communal activity) write down people, actions, or injustices they haven’t forgiven onto a paper, explaining in as much detail as they like why they haven’t forgiven. Then they burn the piece of paper on which they wrote. This isn’t a one-step solution for forgiveness, but psychological research promotes the idea of centering negative thoughts and feelings rather than burying them, and then attempting to free them or let them go in one’s mind. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean absolving the actors of injustice or hurt from their deeds. Forgiveness, however, has the power to free one of the chains that hold them down, in order to enable them to be a stronger force for good. Forgiveness does not free the transgressor; it frees one from being held down by their own hurt so that healing can take place.

If you liked this piece check out: How to Make Genuine Apologies and Why It’s Important

Tags: Healing, Self-reflection, Vulnerability/Risk-taking