It’s not easy to forgive when you feel slighted or wronged, yet we know that the inability to forgive makes us hold onto bitterness and negativity. For some, forgiving oneself for past actions and choices proves to be the most challenging of all. It is important to keep in mind that forgiveness is a choice and reflects a personal, conscious decision. The first step is to identify the essential elements of forgiveness, which can provide you with a basis to focus on the areas that need the most attention in order to boost your “Forgiveness IQ.”
For the following 10 questions, rate each item from 1 to 10 to find out your “Forgiveness IQ.” Rate your responses on a continuum from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 10 (Strongly Agree).
Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly Agree
1. ________ I will not forgive someone if they are not sorry and do not admit what they have done.
2. ________ Those who have wronged or slighted me but take no responsibility for hurting me do not deserve to be forgiven.
3. ________ I find that my lack of ability to forgive makes me stuck thinking about what happened in the past.
4. ________ I cannot forgive because I do not want to condone bad behavior.
5. ________ A difficulty in forgiving makes it hard for me to trust others.
6. ________ It is hard to forgive, because forgiving is letting someone off the hook and makes them no longer accountable.
7. ________ Forgiveness is something that you just feel; it is not a trainable skill.
8. ________ Since there is nothing I can do about things now, I tend to keep things in and do not share my hurt with others.
9. ________ If I forgive, that means I will be vulnerable again so I need to protect myself.
10. _______ I cannot forgive myself for past mistakes, choices and failures.
Total Score: ________ How did you do? The lower the score, the better is your Forgiveness IQ. The following is a rough guideline on what your score means:
15 or Lower — You are a Forgiveness Genius: Congratulations!
16–29 — Strong Forgiveness Competency: You have given yourself the gift of forgiveness and you usually stay positive.
30–49 — Moderate Forgiveness Competency: You have some work to do on becoming less negative and stuck in past resentments.
50–69 — Moderate Forgiveness Impaired: A difficulty with forgiveness has limited your ability to stay positive and live fully in the present
70–84 — Severely Forgiveness Impaired: Consider seeking professional help to give yourself the gift of forgiveness.
85–100 — DANGER ZONE: A lack of forgiveness impairs your mental health. Seek psychological help.
The questions for this quick test identify the major stumbling blocks people often have when overcoming resentments, grudges and their own self-recriminations. Some major points to take away from this quick quiz are that forgiveness is a skill you can choose to develop; an inability to forgive holds you back from living a happy and healthy life; being unforgiving makes you a prisoner of your past, and forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.
For the self-recriminators, work on forgiving yourself for not having the foresight to know what you now know in hindsight. We are all works in progress, and it’s time to let yourself off the hook and build on your regrets rather than live in them. Life is all about evolving and learning. If you made a mistake in the past, learn from it instead of living in it. Those who are defined by their past can not immerse themselves in life at present.
For those hurts from the past, make the choice to let lessons learned deepen you instead of weaken you. As you work on these points, take this quick test occasionally so you can remind yourself to keep on working to boost your Forgiveness I.Q!
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