In an attempt to look at the process of forgiveness, I have assisted Dr Masi Noor, a Social Psychologist at Keele University in England, in creating a Forgiveness Toolbox which underlines the notion that forgiveness does not happen in mysterious ways. Instead, it reinforces the notion that the practice of forgiveness can be learnt by acquiring a set of skills which are based on the actual experiences of individuals who have succeeded in liberating themselves from the debilitating power of victimhood.
The skills were extracted by analysing some of the real life political violence narratives from The Forgiveness Project, experiences of people who have struggled with trauma, loss, resentment and even thoughts of revenge. Knowing that these skills had transformed these individuals to act in ways that have allowed them to discover and embrace “the gift in the wound”, we wanted to look more closely at how.
The list of skills is not exhaustive nor prescriptive and we refrained from outlining a process which may be suggestive of a specific sequence through which the skills should be explored because there may be numerous different processes and paths. Ultimately, these skills aim to enable individuals and groups to re-gain their diminished sense of agency following victimhood experiences, transform the impact of harm and violence, and to find ‘the gifts in their own wounds’.