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The "Reach" Method for Forgiveness Works

forgiveness on Resources - Psychologist Everett Worthington Jr., a pioneer researcher in the field of forgiveness, constructed a 5-step model to facilitate the process of forgiveness. It is one of the techniques most favored by counselors specializing in forgiveness and reconciliation. Worthington has endured one of the most horrific traumas that a person ever experiences. His heroic struggle in coming to terms with such a brutal event and subsequent forgiveness of the perpetrators should be an inspiration to all.

Worthington's 5-step technique of forgiveness is called REACH. REACH, an acronym, stands for the following:

Recall the hurt

Empathize with the one who hurt you

Altruistic gift of forgiveness, offer

Commitment to forgive, make

Hold on to the forgiveness

Step 1 Recall the Hurt. When we are hurt, it is natural to experience fear or anger. It is difficult to forgive if fear or anger still dominates your psyche. The way to overcome the fear or the anger is to recall the event and still try to relax.

Step 2 Empathize with the person who hurt you. Explain the hurtful act, not from your perspective, but from that of the other. Why did wrongdoer do what he or she did? Still better, explain the hurtful event as the wrongdoer's lawyer might do.

Step 3 Altruistic gift of forgiveness. Recall a time when you felt guilty for hurting or offending someone and how that person forgave you. Your victim gave you a gift and you perhaps felt grateful.

Step 4 Commit yourself. Make a commitment to yourself to forgive publicly so you don't have a chance to back out later. Such public commitment may include announcing your intention to a group you belong to, write a "certificate of forgiveness" with a specific date on the certificate;

Step 5 Hold onto forgiveness. Memories of the hurtful event will surface even after you have forgiven the wrongdoer.

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