Forgiveness is an act of self-love.
A gift of healing we give to our-self.
The conditioned mind has a bit of a problem with forgiveness. As usual, it is a matter of perception.
The two most common statements we hear people make about the refusal to forgive, is that someone doesn’t deserve forgiveness or that they can’t forgive them for what they did. Let’s look at them separately.
They don’t deserve forgiveness….
I kind of covered this in my previous blog entitled “Everyone is doing their best”. If you think some-one doesn’t deserve forgiveness then consider the idea that in the moment that they committed the act you believe they don’t deserve forgiveness for – they were unable to act in any other way. This is not an excuse, and should never be used as such – it is a statement of fact. Even if they did or said something deliberately – they were acting out of a mind that believed it was a good idea at the time. A delusional mind – we all have one. Yes, we could look on it in horror and say but, but…. it was a terrible thing to do, and I could never in a million years consider doing such a thing. No, you couldn’t, because you haven’t walked in that persons shoes all your life. Your mind has not been shaped by the same experiences. Warped by the same wounds. Driven by the same pain. But if you had…. you may well have acted the same.
Sometimes we decide the person doesn’t deserve forgiveness because they don’t show remorse, they don’t apologise, or they refuse to admit their behaviour wasn’t OK. This is the result of an error in our own thinking. We are not understanding the purpose of forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not mean we condone the behaviour. It does not mean we stay with an abuser, or continue to hang around someone who doesn’t treat us well. It does not mean we don’t report them if it was a criminal act.
I can’t forgive them for what they did….
Sometimes it seems that what has happened is such a violation of you, that you feel you can never forgive. You don’t want to feel forgiveness, as though somehow, by hanging on to un-forgiveness, you are punishing them, Maybe this works for you if the person wants your forgiveness and by with-holding it you can exact revenge, but often the person we need to forgive is oblivious to how we feel. With both of the examples above, there is a serious flaw in the understanding of forgiveness.
Generally speaking, un-forgiveness hurts you more than them.
Lets look at why this is so.
I close my eyes and imagine un-forgiveness. I’ve experienced it. I know what it feels like, and it is in stark contrast to how I now feel all of the time.
Un-forgiveness feels like hardness, rigidity, rage, hate, resentment. It feels like tightness and constriction. It is closed and unyielding and like a rock in my stomach. It actually makes me feel a little sick because I don’t generally have feelings like this anymore, and when I do, they are so out of alignment with my energy I feel physically unwell. I can feel the impact of it on my muscles – particularly in my neck, shoulders and arms. It weakens my energy. When you live with un-forgiveness you are so used to how it feels that it no longer registers in your conscious mind.
Un-forgiveness generates a stress response in your body – this is what the body sensations are that you feel when you think about your un-forgiveness. When you think about the person and whatever they did. This stress response peaks when you consciously think of the person, but chances are, that stress response is always there at a lower level if you haven’t forgiven. The body is not designed to operate at its optimum for long periods of time in the stress response. It weakens the body’s resistance to disease.
Un-forgiveness keeps you tied on an energetic, emotional and mental level to the person you cannot forgive. Their actions still have power over you – hence the heightened stress response when you think of them. You may have removed from them physically, but as long as you don’t forgive, the energetic, emotional and mental ties still effectively bind you.
Un-forgiveness drags your past into your present and your future. Through your un-forgiveness the taint of their actions continues to spoil your life long after the act was over.
Un-forgiveness creates a space within you that is not open to the flow of life.
Un-forgiveness takes up space where love could be instead.
It takes energy to hold onto un-forgiveness. Energy that could be much better used enjoying your life.
By forgiving, you release yourself.
You reclaim your life.
Forgiveness is a radical Act Of Self-Love.
How do you know when you have forgiven? When you can think of them without any shift in energy in your body. There is no stress response. Then you can celebrate….. they no longer have any power over you. You have reclaimed your life.
When there has been significant trauma involved, especially if it was an act inflicted on you while you were a child that affected your beliefs and worldview at a very early age and you had no help to process it then, forgiveness is a step on the road to recovery, but it is not recovery. I would lovingly suggest that you seek professional help to work through the trauma. It is much easier to do it with someone holding space for you and providing you with new skills to understand and cope.
How do you forgive?
Indeed, how do you forgive?
There are many ways, and many books written on the subject by much smarter people than me. I can only tell you what worked for me, but you must choose a path to forgiveness that works for you.
I had cause to forgive someone for something they did to me when I was a very small child. This act caused me decades of anxiety and dysfunction and was a major cause of sub-conscious beliefs and a world-view that was very negative. When I became aware enough I made the decision that person would no longer have any power over my life. I sought an understanding of why they had done what they did. The person was no longer alive, so I researched psychology texts on the subject because I like to have an understanding of the human mind.
I sat with the belief mentioned in the previous blog .. Everybody does the best they can in every given moment.. This enabled compassion to arise.
I set the intention to forgive and reminded myself….I forgive, I forgive, I forgive. I Breathe and let go. I Breathe and let go. I Imagined forgiveness like a warm, soft, flow leaving me, going to them… and let go. Imagined the hard ball of un-forgiveness dissolving in love. I breathe and let go.
I absolutely understood that forgiveness was an act of self-love – I did it for me. I did it because I wanted to be free. I did it because I did not want my future to be more of my past. I did it because I wanted peace.
Forgiveness is an act of self-love.
Set yourself free.