Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Forgiveness



Forgiveness was a concept I could totally wrap my brain around. I could be omnipotent and forgive all those who trespassed against me and I would free them of their suffering. It was an easy gift to give requiring little thought on my part and what I perceived as my magnanimous heart.

But I'm realizing that forgiveness is far more complicated in its simplicity.

First, I was always requiring an apology from a person before I forgave him or her. I wanted, required, the person to feel genuine remorse for how they had tread on me. Once that was offered I swooped in and generously offered my "forgiveness" in return. While waiting for the initial apology I would sit and stew recounting how the person had hurt, embarrassed, shamed, or abused me.

By this action I was allowing the events to affect me again and again until the apology was finally issued and I was then able to forgive.

Now I'm learning that forgiveness need not have anything to do with apologies, but a single act on my part to release the hurt and allow it to go. It has all to do with me and nothing to do with anyone else.

I alone have the power to move on and unburden myself of these feelings that keep me in an emotional jail.

Second, forgiveness does not mean forgetting. But in remembering I do not need to continue to beat myself up for the infraction of another. Remembering offers a chance to stay connected to a lesson learned and an opportunity to grow from that lesson.

Forgiveness allows distance from the hurt, understanding, and a chance to move on with increased knowledge. Forgiveness enlightens and lightens.

Finally, forgiveness is not only about another person. Until I learned forgiveness needed to be doled out to myself I was a very unhappy person. From childhood through the present I blamed myself for different abuses, calamities, and unpleasantness.

Whether a victim, a witness, or the cause of unhappiness, I held on to the pain and suffering and used those hurts to continue to torture myself. I could forgive many in my life, but I never offered myself the same gift.

And now I'm learning that forgiveness needs to begin within. Like love, if you cannot love/forgive yourself, how can you love/forgive others?

My husband lives by a strong moral code and I admire him for the serenity he's able to stay connected to for the majority of the time. Among his many beliefs is, "don't let people take up space in your head who don't pay you rent".

If someone has wronged, annoyed, hurt, or betrayed you, let it go. Forgive them. That may not change who they are, but it changes how you deal with them.

Forgive and move on allowing peace and serenity to move in replacing hurt and misery.

I'm learning to forgive for my own health and sanity. I'm learning that in order to forgive others I must first forgive myself.

Forgiveness is not forgetting but an opportunity to move on with increased knowledge.

And forgiveness, in all of its simplistic glory, is the catalyst to a happier, healthier life.

Join me in taking the first steps in earnest forgiveness.

5 comments:

  1. Me? Connected to serenity? Surely you jest.

    To God, Papa Joe and Big John(RIP) go the credit for the above philosophical reactions for forgiveness. A big "THANK YOU" to all three.

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  2. I've been working on forgiving someone for the last 14 years. This person certainly takes up A LOT of "unpaid rented space". The funny thing is, I'm better with the person not in my life. What they did... I bear the consequences everyday and the other person is just living life. It feels unfair. It feels unforgivable.
    I feel 'punished' everyday... Someday, I will feel deserved of the freedom that lies on the other side of forgiveness.

    Chief, You have touched on two of my biggest issues the last two days. I appreciate it... makes me uncomfortable 'facing' them. But, conviction is a good thing if responded to correctly. Thank you!

    (Coffee & "Chatter" has become part of my morning computer routine.)

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  3. Jules, as mothers, wives, and women, we have so very much in common. I'm glad my self-serving blogs are more far-reaching than just my family room. Sometimes a radically different perspective can speed acceptance and healing. I pray for you!! xoxo

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  4. Forgive, learn from it, and move on as quickly as possible, but never forget.

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