Forgiving. Is it a weakness or a strength? If I forgive, do I really surrender and let the person who hurt me get away with their behaviour? Am I showcasing my superiority by forgiving? These are all interesting questions. Let’s have a closer look at the ‘mystery of forgiving’.
When you are in a situation where someone you trust and love said or did something that hurt you, it can be hard to move on. We might feel that if we forgive we automatically give the other party permission to treat us the way that pleases them.
However, this can’t be further from the truth. Do you think that if you are holding a grudge against someone is getting the best out of you?
Let’s imagine: you are at your favourite place with your favourite people, enjoying the chats, the music, the fresh air. Your body is totally relaxed and at ease. The energy is felt in every inch of your body. Then suddenly, somebody mentions a name. THE NAME. Your tummy turns into a massive knot, your muscles tense up, your breathing becomes heavier and heavier, and you can feel your heart-rate speeding up.
The name has just reminded you what had happened. Once your body remembered, your mind starts calling on the painful memories. You are still holding a grudge against this person even though they aren’t there. And your evening is ruined while the stimulus (the other person) knows nothing about this, and carries on with their life.
I am sure many of us are familiar with this scenario. We immobilize ourselves by reliving the past in the present moment, which causes us to waste the NOW! We choose to relive a past experience (Most of the time this happens on subconscious level. Our autopilot kicks in.)
I remember there were situations in my life when I felt betrayed by people I trusted. My mind was constantly swirling around the same question:
‘How could they do that to me?’
The more I tried to find the answer, the more I pulled myself down into a very deep sphere of my feelings. Then the more miserable I felt, the more painful thoughts started to appear in my mind.
I was in a vicious circle.
And the more I tried to break free, the more I got locked in. I was ‘trying’ to persuade my mind that it is fine, and I really don’t care. But oh boy, how much I cared!
And to make it more ‘fun’, I started telling myself off for allowing the experience to influence my present moment. At this point, it wasn’t just simply not forgiving my wrongdoers, but I believe, I stepped up my game (in the negative sense). I wasn’t forgiving myself for slipping into this situation.
Anger makes you smaller. While forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.
However, I think that after a certain time one of the biggest obstacles to forgive is our own pride. It isn’t easy to forgive others and it is even harder to forgive ourselves!
Maybe because we are grieving. We are grieving our loss.
Yeah, our loss. As we thought we had something and now that something is gone. We might not even realise it. Or more precisely, we don’t dig deep enough to see this level, as we got stuck on the surface and sink into self-pity and blame shifting. It is so much easier to play the part of a victim rather than really look at the bottom of things and take responsibility.
This made me to revisit some of the situations where I found it hard to forgive. Well, it wasn’t a ride filled with rainbows and unicorns. I wish, I had realised this much sooner then when I did. BUT everything is happening at the right time for you. Not when you want it but when you are ready for it.
What was it that my soul and heart were yearning for?
In most cases I was grieving a lost friendship, love and the feeling of belonging.
Now I know that I didn’t allow myself enough time to mourn these things. And that created an inner conflict between moving on and not accepting what I was leaving behind. Eventually I got over this conflict, but took a lot of time and energy. And obviously, my negative self-talk during this period got promoted to the loudest voice in my head. 🙂
Every time we tell ourselves that our sadness and grief are not worth mourning, we cut ourselves off from potential healing and life.
Nope, I am not saying that forgiving is forgetting and accepting what has been done to you. I am saying that forgiving is the greatest gift that you can give to yourself. You still remember what happened and take the learning you have to take from that, but you took out the emotions from the picture – hate, blame, shame, guilt etc.
Forgiveness is not about the other party. It is about YOU. And only YOU!
You are growing and leaving unnecessary weight behind.
Just imagine how much easier you are going on your journey when you don’t have to carry any extra weight. Especially of something that doesn’t serve you anymore.
Do you feel hurt? Then:
- Look inside of you (take your time out) and see what is going on in you?
- What is your loss? What are you mourning? – if it helps, write it down on a piece of paper.
- Take your time, don’t rush it.
- What are you gaining by holding on? What are you gaining by moving on?
Forgiving is for your own benefit, your own growth. Give yourself time to mourn what is lost and also give yourself the gift of moving forward without any extra burden.
It might not be an easy task but it is definitely worth it.
Written by Petra J.