I am still very angry with a friend from a recent betrayal. Is it phony to start forgiving now? Should I let my anger subside for a while? It seems to me that I am not being genuine if I start to forgive when so angry.

Writing to our website suggests to me that you are more ready to forgive than your words indicate. As you know, forgiveness is your choice and so you should not feel pressured into doing so.

Please keep in mind that your decision to forgive should not be dictated by your feelings. Your will to forgive can supersede your angry feelings. When we will to forgive, we make a decision to forgive and we begin to think about the one who hurt us in new ways, such as seeing his or her inherent worth.

If you start the forgiveness process and are overwhelmed by your feelings of anger, you might want to calm down for a while. How much time you need can vary by your experience with forgiveness and by how deeply you have been hurt. As a general research finding, the deeper a person forgives, the more that anger diminishes. This is one reason why you do not want to wait indefinitely to forgive until you no longer feel anger. Forgiveness itself can and does reduce this unpleasant emotion.