Better World International’s founder, Pawel Alva Nazaruk, interviewed Marina Cantacuzino about The Forgiveness Project and how the notion of forgiveness and reconciliation is vital for the health of the individual and the functioning of society. Listen to this inspiring interview here!
Who is Marina Cantacuzino?
Marina Cantacuzino was influenced by the Iraq war to start The Forgiveness Project in 2004 as a counter-cultural platform against the aggression which was prevalent at the time. She also served as a freelance journalist between 1990 – 2004 in which she wrote about ordinary people’s struggles and triumphs. Cantacuzino also pioneered The F Word. This project told the stories of individuals which had their lives shattered by violence but were still learning to forgive and reconcile. Since its launch in 2004, it has been seen in more than 550 venues across 14 different countries to an audience of more than 70,000 people.
Additionally, she has recently released the book The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age which looks at stories from both victims and perpetrators of crime and how the protagonist of the story used forgiveness rather than becoming locked into the cycle of conflict which seems to dominate contemporary society. The book was critically acclaimed and received forewords from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Alexander McCall Smith and endorsements from Jon Snow, Emma Thompson, and many others
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is an ambiguous concept. Given the subjectivity of human nature, it comes as no surprises that for one person their notion of forgiveness could be completely different to another individual’s. However, forgiveness is important. As Cantacuzino illustrated with The Forgiveness Project, it can completely change the socio-structural bindings of society and enable forgiveness to act like an oil which helps the society function whilst simultaneously creating a healthier psyche for the individuals forgiving.
The benefits are truly present, so why not get started today?
How do I forgive?
It goes without saying that instructing someone how to forgive is difficult indeed due to the lack of objective criteria which can be applied unanimously. To forgive, the journey begins from the inside.
Dr. Fred Luskin, a scholar famous for his research into forgiveness, has noticed that his definition of forgiveness has changed substantially over time to the point at which he has accepted it is synonymous with freedom! The reasoning behind this is that not forgiving someone causes inner turmoil due to the psyche not being able to move on from the experience. Luskin acknowledges that feeling relief from the burden of not forgiving is so intense that it feels like experiencing freedom for the first time.
These 4 pieces of guidance were given by Mariana Cantacuzino in her interview with Pawel Nazaruk:
- Have the desire to forgive. The first requirement is that in order to forgive, the individual must have a desire to forgive in the first place. This can manifest in many different forms, but two of the most common are through a need to either alleviate the entrapment of resentment or an innate instinct to bring harmony to the individual’s psyche.
- Listen to others. A most important feature of forgiving is to listen to the story which the individual that caused harm to you is telling and try to empathize and understand from their perspective.
- Let go of assumptions and expectations. People will act differently to how you expect as everyone is individually different and that should be celebrated instead of chastised.
- Learn to accept. It is also crucial that you accept bad things happen to good people. It is not, however, the event that defines a person: it is how they deal with it.
The advice above helps you accept your inner pain which improves your psyche and can also improve the world around you by accepting that others are different to you. This helps to build positive communities and enable multiculturalism around the world!
Start forgiving and share these pieces of guidance with your friends now!
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