If I am not sure if I need to forgive, I look to where I am angry. Or some type of angry - frustrated, irritated, bothered.
Then I look at who and what I am talking about to others/gossiping/venting.
Stories of mine that come out as I try to organize the irritation in my mind. An indication that there is pain somewhere for me, and forgiveness is something I need to consider.
Here are a few things to consider about anger and forgiveness.
Anger and Forgiveness:
My anger is focused on a person (or people).
My anger is intense in the moment.
My anger can be seen in annoyance or irritation, many times with other people who were not involved in the original problem/experience.
My anger can be passive (pretending I am not angry) or extreme (extra hostile).
My anger can be regressive, meaning I can “put it away” because I don’t quite know what to do with it (this happens a lot with children - or adults who never learned how to be angry).
My anger stays with me. I may not be angry at every moment of the day, but if I am triggered in any meaningful way, out comes my anger…because it had just been waiting inside me.
My anger is based on a real pain or hurt, a real in justice or unfairness, not something that I created or imagined in my mind.
*Adapted from Enright & Fitzgibbons, Helping Clients Forgive