Many of us have been taught that we should forgive those who have hurt us, implying it is something we can choose to do.
Yet when we take a closer look it can be seen that we actually don’t forgive others but rather it happens as a by-product of our own emotional releasing process. That is, forgiveness happens when we no longer feel hurt by the other person’s action(s) and we are in fact at peace with this event(s). Resultantly forgiveness happens.
Some people want to believe they have forgiven the other person because they had made a sincere choice to forgive, yet inside they still harbour negative feelings towards this person. This is not forgiveness but rather a form of suppressing their feelings and hiding themselves from their truth through self-generated beliefs.
In being advised to forgive, some people respond with “why should I forgive this person, s/he doesn’t deserve it!”
“Forgiveness is never about supporting or condoning an action or behaviour of another.”
We truly don’t forgive for the other but for ourselves. Forgiveness is not about condoning a person’s action or behaviour or saying what they did is right. Rather it allows us to be in peace by releasing our very own blame, pain and hurts caused by this person. Truly we forgive to heal ourselves.
Some people don’t realise this and refuse to allow themselves to ‘forgive the other person’ but unfortunately all they are really doing in the end is hurting themselves by holding onto their pain.
A way to test if we have really forgiven is to question whether the action caused by the person(s) still matters. If you no longer need to talk about it or need to retell the event as part of your life story, if you no longer care about how you were hurt, then you are in peace with this event, an experience synonymous to forgiveness.
“Acceptance is synonymous with Forgiveness”
I would suggest that instead of trying to forgive someone, allow yourself to feel and clear any negative feelings you have with this person. Through this process you will feel calmer and you will begin to notice that what has happened to you is okay, you’re in acceptance and you are also okay with the other person(s) and how they had treated you. Through acceptance you will feel you have also forgiven. It no longer really matters to you.
In my experience in working with clients the ‘hardest person to forgive’ most often is ourselves. We tend to strongly blame ourselves for any mistakes or pain we have caused others, often leading to unconscious self-punishment and thereby increasing our own suffering. The process for forgiving ourselves is no different than to forgive another. It just takes a willingness to want to open our hearts to our self just as we have done to others. The process of forgiving ourselves, clearing our own pain and guilt is often over looked in our own emotional journey, causing ourselves prolonged suffering.
Regardless of who you forgive, forgiveness is a gift to yourself.
Published: July 2015