A lovely, thoughtful piece. I’d like to add one more point on your list:
6. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t yet forgive. And don’t worry if your forgiveness doesn’t follow a step-by-step linear path from the anger that eats you up to forgiveness that can bring you joy.
My pieces on forgiveness and grief might be of interest to people trying to find their way.
2] Point #9 in Twenty True Things I know about Living with Grief is also relevant. Just change a few words:
9) Remember that forgiveness is not a stage-by-stage linear process, despite what others have told you…despite the judgment implied behind words like “Aren’t you over that by now?
Your efforts to forgive will be like a loop-de-loop roller coaster, returning you to earlier “stages,” shooting you past them, then bringing you back round again to a place of deeper anger than you experienced before. And as with a roller coaster, you will feel you are being jerked around by your emotions.
In short, have patience with yourself. Wherever you are on your journey toward forgiveness is where you need to be. Skipping over the loop-de-loop ensures that your forgiveness is varying degrees of “hollow.” Let yourself run through the whole gamut of feelings in whatever stage they arrive. And don’t beat yourself up if you take a little “backwards” loop.
Most important of all:
First, you must forgive yourself. That, also, will loop-de-loop on you. Sit back and enjoy the ride.