Thursday, 31 March 2011
When forgiveness becomes irrelevant
Every one of us has have lived through some bad times that we'd rather not remember. It's part of living - that in order to know the good, we also have to experience the bad, and that way we appreciate coming through it all that much more. But so many of these bad times leave a lasting mark upon us, so that we just can't get past them and put them in the recycle bin. Especially when these bad times involve other people.
From a young age, we have it instilled upon us to "forgive and forget", but no one explains just how to do this. They tell us we must forget the hurt and anger, forgive the person that, whether by accident of design, has brought these feelings out. They tell us "you must" but not how.
Personally, I don't think that forgiveness is an automatic right that a person who has harmed us in entitled to. It means that they have carte blanche to do pretty much what they like, no matter who it harms. How many times have I heard people explain their condoning of behaviour with "I'm only doing it to keep the peace"? When you "need" to forgive someone, then they have power over you. It's even harder when it is family and those close to us that cause the situation - which is exactly what they are banking on.
Why? Why should you be blackmailed into a position that isn't comfortable for you, where it is you that suffers and not the bully (and these people are bullies) forcing you into a course of action against your will?
It makes me a bit cross when I see and hear grown adults throwing a tantrum when they don't get their way. They have learned that if they make another person uncomfortable, then they will get what they want easily. But in my view - these people are children still, the grown-ups are the ones that don't let the children have the power.
Anger and hurt are all about Power. The person who invokes an emotion in another person holds a power over that person. This works for positive and negative emotions. When we allow another person to make us angry, to hurt us, we give away our own power, the power we have over ourselves and our choices. We choose to take the options that "keep the peace" rather than the options that would be more beneficial for us. We choose the easy path, the one that divulges of us our own personal responsibility, our personal power.
There is a lot of shadow work involved with dealing with anger and hurt. You truly have to be able to know yourself, your own gifts and your own faults. There are many times when we feel negative about a person, but when we truly look at ourselves, we see that they are exhibiting a character trait that we have ourselves, but don't want to accept. Learning to accept yourself, warts and all, is a huge leap in being able to deal with hurt and anger. You can accept a less-than-desirable character trait in yourself - it doesn't mean you have to display it - knowing it is there, and controlling it yourself, you take back your power.
To me, forgiveness comes when a person no longer has any power over me. There have been situations in my life when I have been angry and hurt, some have affected me over the long-term. When it really doesn't matter any more what happened in the past - then that is when I have come to a point of forgiveness, and even then, the act of forgiving in itself it irrelevant, as it too is unimportant.
Now, I am able to accept the character flaws of other people, as I know that I'm not perfect either. I am able to take responsibility for my actions, and I am able to risk "the peace" when it conflicts with what is healthy for me. It's extremely liberating. I still get angry, and I still get hurt, it's part of being human. But I choose not to let it be important, I move on, I forget, and I forgive...myself.
Love and hugs