We spend a lot of our lives seeking the forgiveness of others or feeling like we are constantly saying “I am sorry” to those around us. Or we are paralyzed with anger, hurt or sorrow for those who refuse to ask us for forgiveness because we feel that they have failed us in some way.
We relate the act of forgiveness as making whatever we believed wronged us as being OK, forgotten as if it never happened. We create this box around the event and put impossible expectations on what it will take to make the wrong right. How much punishment are we willing to subject the unforgivable party to until we feel they have “learned from their mistake”? In the end we are really punishing ourselves because we allow ourselves to be the victim of circumstance.
We so easily forget that we all make mistakes, choices we wish we had made differently, words we wish we had never spoken or a hug we withheld out of anger.
We so willingly give into the notion that the only way we can be OK again is if the other person shows us that they deserve our forgiveness.
We have just completely given our power away to something that we have no control over, someone else’s choices.
In my experience when I am resisting forgiveness of someone it is because there is some element from that situation that I need to forgive myself for. In any given situation no matter how painful it takes two or more to engage in the event. By asking yourself if you are part of the problem or part of the solution you can start to uncover the real reason the act of forgiveness is so important to you.
Forgiveness does not mean that the event did not happen, it purely means that you are choosing to say I recognize what happened and I choose to move forward. I no longer want to be stuck in anger and sorrow. I choose to learn from this and let it be a reminder when I am faced with a similar situation how I will make a more informed choice based on this experience. I forgive myself for giving up my freedom of choice to something or someone else.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, it just means that you choose to not let this event define you. This unforgivable event has formed you, it is part of your life, just a part. Learn from it, grow from it, come to peace with it so that you can move forward and embrace your life and the journey you still have to experience.
I learned this lesson well as I sat by my Dad’s beside as he was in a coma with only days/hours/minute’s left to live on this earth. I could let my hurt continue to paralyze me or I could choose to forgive myself for allowing this man’s choices to keep me from being free to be myself. He only had the power if I continued to let him have it. As I looked at this man laying in this hospital bed he seemed so lonely and sad. He never allowed himself forgiveness and couldn’t ask for it from us. I realized that he didn’t need to ask me to forgive him, it was my choice to forgive. The freedom of that choice has healed me in so many ways. I forgave his actions for me, not him. It gave me the ability to see that he was just a man who made poor choices that unfortunately hurt me. But I had the power to say how I would take those choices and learn from them in my own life.
Forgiveness is the greatest gift I have given to myself!