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Inspiration Decks Character Traits 2023-12-06 00:00

Character Trait: Forgiving

Character Trait Forgiving

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait Forgiving refers to the ability to let go of anger, resentment, or the desire for revenge towards someone who has wronged you. It involves the willingness to show mercy and compassion, and to give others a second chance, even when they may not deserve it. A forgiving person is able to move past a hurtful situation and focus on the present and future, without holding grudges or seeking retribution.

Contents:
  1. Possible causes of being forgiving
  2. Behaviors associated with being forgiving
  3. Attitudes associated with being forgiving
  4. Thoughts and struggles associated with being forgiving
  5. Emotions associated with being forgiving
  6. Facial expressions associated with being forgiving
  7. Body language associated with being forgiving
  8. Behaviors associated with being forgiving
  9. Growth and evolution of forgiving characters
  10. Stereotypes of forgiving characters to avoid
  11. Negatives of being forgiving
  12. Positives of being forgiving
  13. Verbal expressions of forgiving characters
  14. Relationships of forgiving characters
  15. Examples from books of characters who are forgiving
  16. Writing exercises for writing forgiving characters

Possible causes of being forgiving

You might want to weave these into your character's back story to build a more believable character.

  • Religion or spirituality: Believing in forgiveness as a spiritual or religious value can shape a person's personality towards forgiveness.
  • Personal experience: Going through a difficult situation and being forgiven by others can lead to a forgiving personality.
  • Upbringing: Being raised in a forgiving environment, where forgiveness is modeled and encouraged, can lead to a forgiving personality.
  • Emotional intelligence: Having a high level of emotional intelligence can help someone understand the benefits of forgiveness and how it can improve relationships.
  • Empathy: Being able to understand and relate to others' perspectives and experiences can make it easier to forgive.

Behaviors associated with being forgiving

You may be able to show your character's trait of forgiving by using these.

  • Not holding grudges
  • Moving on from past hurts
  • Showing empathy and compassion towards others
  • Seeing the good in people despite their mistakes
  • Letting go of resentment
  • Being open-minded and understanding
  • Offering second chances
  • Accepting an apology
  • Refraining from seeking revenge

Attitudes associated with being forgiving

You may be able to show forgiving through their attitudes.

  • Letting go of grudges and resentments
  • Being patient and tolerant towards others
  • Focusing on the present moment and moving forward rather than dwelling on the past
  • Being open to reconciliation and healing relationships
  • Seeing the good in others despite their mistakes or flaws
  • Being empathetic and understanding towards others' perspectives and experiences
  • Recognizing the humanity and imperfections of oneself and others
  • Being willing to apologize and seek forgiveness when one has wronged someone else
  • Having a positive and optimistic outlook on life

Thoughts and struggles associated with being forgiving

Here are some ideas for things your forgiving character may think or struggle with.

  • Weighing the benefits of forgiveness against the potential risks of vulnerability
  • Struggling with the idea that forgiveness is a one-time event rather than an ongoing process
  • Balancing forgiveness with the need for self-protection
  • Working to release resentment and bitterness
  • Overcoming the temptation to hold a grudge or seek retribution
  • Wrestling with feelings of hurt, anger, and betrayal
  • Struggling with the desire for revenge or justice
  • Grappling with the belief that forgiveness means forgetting or condoning the offense
  • Battling a fear of being hurt again
  • Wrestling with the belief that forgiveness requires the offender to apologize or make amends
  • Understanding that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling
  • Struggling with the tension between forgiveness and accountability

Emotions associated with being forgiving

Here are some ideas for emotions your forgiving character may experience.

  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Acceptance
  • Tolerance
  • Understanding
  • Mercy
  • Generosity

Facial expressions associated with being forgiving

Here are some facial expressions your forgiving character may exhibit.

  • A nod or a tilt of the head to show understanding
  • A slight smile or a neutral expression
  • A softening of the eyes and a gentle gaze
  • Slow and deliberate movements, as if taking the time to consider the situation
  • A relaxed jaw and mouth

Body language associated with being forgiving

Here is some body language your forgiving character may exhibit.

  • Softening of facial features (relaxing of the forehead, unclenching of the jaw)
  • Offering a warm smile or gentle touch
  • Making eye contact with the person being forgiven
  • Leaning in or moving closer to the person
  • Avoiding defensive or accusatory gestures (pointing, crossing arms, etc.)
  • Nodding or shaking the head as appropriate
  • Speaking in a calm and reassuring tone of voice
  • Open and relaxed posture (uncrossed arms and legs)
  • Allowing for pauses and moments of silence to process emotions and thoughts

Behaviors associated with being forgiving

Here are some behaviors your forgiving character may exhibit.

  • Not holding grudges
  • Refraining from seeking revenge
  • Letting go of resentment
  • Seeing the good in people despite their mistakes
  • Moving on from past hurts
  • Being open-minded and understanding
  • Accepting an apology
  • Offering second chances
  • Showing empathy and compassion towards others

Growth and evolution of forgiving characters

Here are some ways that your forgiving character may grow and evolve over time.

  • Letting go of feelings of anger or resentment towards the wrongdoer
  • Learning to trust again, either the wrongdoer or other characters in the story
  • Finding empathy for the wrongdoer and their circumstances
  • Making a conscious decision to forgive and moving on from the hurt
  • Understanding the reasons or motivations behind the hurtful actions
  • Acknowledging the pain or harm caused by the wrongdoer
  • Recognizing the power of forgiveness and its positive impact on personal growth and relationships

Stereotypes of forgiving characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical forgiving character like these examples.

  • Making the character forgiving to the point of being a pushover or a doormat.
  • Creating a character who forgives too easily without showing any internal struggle or conflict.
  • Giving the character forgiveness as their only defining trait without exploring their other qualities or flaws.
  • Writing a forgiving character who never learns from their mistakes or experiences and keeps forgiving the same person over and over again.
  • Portraying the character as forgiving without any consequences or impact on their relationships or personal growth.
  • Portraying the character as forgiving without any reason or explanation.
  • Making the character forgiving only for the sake of being seen as a good person.

Negatives of being forgiving

Here are some potential negatives of being forgiving. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.

  • Feeling obligated to forgive, even when it may not be the best course of action for oneself
  • Putting oneself in potentially harmful or unhealthy situations by forgiving without considering personal boundaries
  • Being taken advantage of by others who may not reciprocate forgiveness
  • Internalizing anger or hurt instead of expressing it and potentially resolving the issue

Positives of being forgiving

Here are some potential positives of being forgiving. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.

  • Reduces stress and anxiety levels
  • Encourages personal growth and development
  • Helps in building stronger and healthier relationships
  • Promotes forgiveness towards oneself as well as others
  • Promotes inner peace and emotional well-being
  • Reduces the likelihood of holding grudges and harboring resentment
  • Fosters empathy and compassion towards others
  • Increases resilience and the ability to bounce back from setbacks

Verbal expressions of forgiving characters

Here are some potential expressions used by forgiving characters.

  • "Everyone makes mistakes."
  • "I'm not holding a grudge."
  • "It's okay, I understand."
  • "I'm not angry anymore."
  • "Let's move past this."
  • "I don't blame you."
  • "I'm willing to give you another chance."
  • "I accept your apology."
  • "I forgive you."

Relationships of forgiving characters

Here are some ways that being forgiving could affect your character's relationships.

  • They may be more understanding and compassionate towards others.
  • They may have a greater capacity for empathy and understanding towards others' experiences and perspectives.
  • They may have stronger and more trusting relationships with those they forgive.
  • They may be willing to give others second chances and opportunities to make amends.
  • They may have a tendency to take on others' emotional burdens and try to fix things for them.
  • They may struggle with setting boundaries or standing up for themselves in certain situations.
  • They may be perceived as pushovers or "too nice" by others.
  • They may be able to let go of grudges and conflicts more easily.
  • They may be less likely to hold others accountable for their mistakes and shortcomings.

Examples from books of characters who are forgiving

  • Katniss Everdeen from "The Hunger Games" series by Suzanne Collins
  • Sydney Carton from "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens
  • Harry Potter from the "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling
  • Odysseus from "The Odyssey" by Homer
  • Gandalf from "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
  • Hester Prynne from "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Elizabeth Bennet from "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
  • Jean Valjean from "Les Misérables" by Victor Hugo

Writing exercises for writing forgiving characters

Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write forgiving characters.

  • Consider the role of empathy in forgiveness. Write a scene where your character tries to understand the perspective of someone they need to forgive.
  • Write a scene where your character is faced with a situation that requires forgiveness. How do they react? Do they struggle with forgiving? What emotions do they experience?
  • Explore your character's relationships. Who do they need to forgive, and who do they need forgiveness from? How do these relationships evolve over the course of your story?
  • Write a scene where your character makes a choice to forgive someone. How does this choice impact them and their relationships?
  • Use writing prompts that explore forgiveness, such as "Write about a time when you forgave someone who hurt you" or "Write a letter of forgiveness to someone, even if you never send it."
  • Start by exploring your character's backstory. What events have they experienced that might require forgiveness? How have these experiences shaped their ability to forgive or withhold forgiveness?
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