For a great part of my life I have struggled with the concept of FORGIVENESS. In my world, the prerequisite for FORGIVENESS was regret. Why should I forgive someone who is not sorry for their actions? Don’t get me wrong, I have never (ok almost never) held a grudge for long in my life – it always seemed like such a waste of time. But truly forgiving has been challenging for me at one time or another.
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”
– Robert Muller
I have, like most people, been deeply hurt at in my life by the people I loved the most or trusted the most. Now I am one of those who experience emotions very intensely – the beautiful ones and the not so beautiful ones.
Since I like to accompany my posts with one or the other photo, I also looked for a suitable picture this time. If you use the word FORGIVENESS as a search term, you get a lot of religious pictures. There are praying people, pictures of people in churches, pictures of priests. I am not a religious person but nevertheless a very spiritual one. I could not come to terms with any of these images, because for me they have nothing to do with FORGIVENESS as I understand it, so I used a photo of one of my favourite places in the world, a place that is connected with peace and happiness.
FORGIVENESS is something that no one can command you to do. I believe it comes from within and above all it must be voluntary and not forced. FORGIVENESS is a feeling and a need that comes from deep love. As always, of course, I speak only for myself and not for others.
“The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.” – Louise Hay
I have had some insights that have helped me incredibly to change my attitude towards FORGIVENESS. I know for many this is nothing new but this is the first time I put it into words for myself.
Sometimes in life you are faced with betrayals that hurt you very deeply, and causes your inner world and balance to get badly disrupted. I believe you have a choice to spend your entire life as a victim and as someone that carries their sad story like a trophy and an excuse for all that goes wrong in your life. Or you can make a choice, break free and using the power of FORGIVENESS to liberate yourself.
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
– Anne Lamott
FORGIVENESS is a powerful healing tool that can help you to heal those deep wounds. My greatest struggle with FORGIVENESS was one that lasted almost all of my life. It was something I held on to, almost clinging to it. I think it had a purpose and that purpose is no longer needed. I have forgiven my mother for everything now that my children are grown up. I think (or thought) I needed to hold on to what happened to always be reminded of how I never want to be as a mother or a human being. It might be that I made my life harder by not forgiving my mother for such a long time but I cannot change the past.
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
– Paul Boose
Sometimes someone hurts you and scars you so deeply that you think you will never resurface. You are in pain and at a certain point you may want that person to hurt as much as you do. I have come to realise that it really is just a waste of time and energy. Thankfully I have only ever found it challenging three times in my life to forgive someone. I asked myself why I could not or did not want to forgive these people. I will not go into detail what my reasons were ( they were very different ones each time), but once I knew, FORGIVENESS came easily and I felt so much lighter and at peace with myself. Sometimes it just needs the right questions and a little effort to get to the bottom of your motivation. This is where the Enneagram was once again a great helper. The crazy thing is that by not forgiving and possibly even being vindictive you are bound to a person who is just not good for you anymore.
“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
– Oprah Winfrey
Forgiving someone is a sign that you are ready to move on and able to let go either of a situation or even a person. That doesn’t mean that you forget a situation or do not love the person anymore, quite the opposite. Even when you move on you may find yourself that you love a person you have let go even more and can now enjoy the happy memories you once shared together.
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
– Catherine Ponder
The more difficult task is often to forgive yourself. Some may say that you can only forgive others when you forgive yourself. It is comparable to the statement that you can only love others when you love yourself. I beg to differ!
“We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.”
– Sir. Francis Bacon
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to love yourself and to forgive yourself but knowing humans and knowing people I realise that we are very often so much harder on ourselves than we are on others. I do believe you can forgive others without forgiving yourself and I do believe you can love others without loving yourself but that’s only one theory and you don’t have to share that of course. But on the other hand when you really think about it forgiving others or forgiving yourself is something completely different because often we hold we hold ourselves to much higher standards than we do others. This makes forgiving ourselves so very very challenging at times. I will be the first to admit though that our ability to love others and forgive others is much greater when we know how to love and forgive ourselves first.
Forgiving and forgetting in relationships is one of the most difficult things to do. I think it is important when something goes wrong in a relationship that makes FORGIVENESS necessary, you should take your time to resolve the issue to ensure that you can truly forgive without bringing the same topic up again and again. If you do, it is like a malignant cancer that creeps into the relationship and grows and grows until it is no longer curable. If you forgive someone, do ti with all of your heart and not your mind.
“Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.”
– Marlene Dietrich
I would love to hear about your take on FORGIVENESS. If you are not sure if you can forgive someone who has wronged or hurt you, I would like to recommend to you one of my favourite books that may be of some help or perhaps even change your attitude towards forgiveness: “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl
Thank you for reading and wishing you a wonderful weekend!