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The power of making amends: How conciliatory gestures promote human forgiveness

Stashed in: Forgive, Relationships, humanity, health!, Humanity

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It’s well known that when a person takes steps to make amends for a wrongdoing, the victim is more inclined to forgive and forget. However, exactly why that happens is less obvious and poorly understood. In a recent study, scientists made substantial progress in explaining the psychological processes that make forgiveness happen.

Their findings show that peacemaking efforts such as apologies, offers of compensation and owning up to one’s responsibility increase forgiveness—and reduce anger—by making the aggressor seem more valuable as a relationship partner and by causing the victim to feel less at risk of getting hurt again by the transgressor.

The findings show that the extent to which a transgressor offered conciliatory gestures to their victims was directly proportional to the extent to which those victims forgave over time. Conciliatory gestures also appeared to change the victim’s perceptions about the relationship and the aggressor.

But the transgressor has to sincerely apologize, right?

I'm sorry, but yes.

I walked right into that one.

this article you reference here states that we should forgive regardless of apology.  so i guess we haven't come that far yet, eh? 

In all cases, regardless of apology, you forgive because it's the healthy thing to do.  

A healthy thing to do for yourself.

and for the planet as a whole...

Great posting!  Thanks so much!

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