Learning how to forgive and extend love and compassion to others is one of the most important things we can learn. Holding grievances hurts ourselves far more than anything anyone else has ever appeared to “do” to us. It puts a veil over the Light that shines within us, cutting us off from our experience of being connected with God, and therefore, love.
Over the years people have done some really hurtful things to me, like wise, I have done some really hurtful things to others. A lesson that has taken me my whole life to learn is forgiveness. It is my husband that taught it to me. You see, he believes that in order for one to forgive with a true heart, one must be in need of forgiveness. I am such a person.
Sometime ago a man did something to me without knowing my situation. He put his hands on me and pushed me down to the floor. I was so hurt. This man never, not once, asked me to forgive him for his actions. He felt he had a right to do what he did. I ask, do we have the right to hurt another person? I had to accept the fact that he would never ask because he did not feel he was wrong, in fact, he felt I should apologize. Really? Well, years have gone by and I am still thinking about it. I told myself that I forgave him. If that were true, why am I still contemplating on this matter? I have not truly forgiven him.
Before we can learn how to forgive others, we generally have to do some self-healing first. The first step is to acknowledge where we are in pain. We can’t heal something until we admit to ourselves that it is there and takeresponsibility for our own feelings.Then we can bring loving compassion, acceptance andforgiveness to ourselves. After that, it is easier to extend compassion, love and forgiveness to others.
We learn how to forgive “others” for our own healing because actually there is only One Being here, and it is Us. Whether we appear to forgive someone “out there” or ourselves, it is all Us.
After years of holding onto some large grievances, I finally generated enough desire to learn how to forgive because I was tired of suffering over the negativity I was choosing to hold onto. It was just too debilitating. At that point my strong desire attracted the introduction of a very clear path to learn how to forgive and heal anything, finally and completely.
Whether the pain is mental, physical or both, forgiving a loved one who has caused you distress can be a scary and often tiresome ordeal. Regardless, forgiving is a personal choice undertaken to help you grow and heal as a person — not to help the other person or condone his actions. Once you understand how and why you hurt, and exactly why you need to forgive the other person, the act itself need not be particularly difficult or complicated
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis B. Smedes
Why is forgiveness such a loaded topic? Because many believe that somehow the victim has to be the bigger person, raise himself up to a higher standard than the perpetrator and make amends to reach the Kingdom of Heaven.
We have all experienced some level of betrayal in our lives. We think we cannot bear the searing rod iron-hot pain so we develop coping mechanisms such as self-abuse, angry relationships and continued drama cycles. In many of the personal stories Ms. Whitney conveys, people held onto their pain for years. In the book, she illustrates the story about a fugitive responsible for the death of a policeman in the face of anti-Vietnam protests who didn’t fully accept responsibility for her acts until well after she had handed herself in to the authorities two decades later. It wasn’t until she released her anger toward the U.S. governmentfrom the 1960s that she could apologize to the family whom she had caused so much pain.
“Apology is necessary to begin the journey of forgiveness within a relationship,” claims Dr. Greer. But what happens if you do not receive that apology? In many cases, the victims in Ms. Whitney’s book did not. She interviewed people from Rwanda and Nazi Germany who experienced so much sorrow. Millions of people died at the hand of a few. It is only now that people can speak of the abomination they experienced.
Without apology relationships cannot thrive. And so how does one go about forgiving someone who does not wish to be forgiven? The relationship ends, if there ever was one. That is where self-healing comes into play.
Accept the fact that, regardless of how much you love the person, he may not care that you are offering to forgive him. Do not take this personally. The goal is to feel better about yourself and to know you are doing the right thing.
Focus on the positive, no matter how the situation ultimately ends. Even if the person finds fault in your forgiveness and no longer wants you in his life, you must focus on your own life and redirect the negative energy toward attaining your goals. Do not dwell on the situation, and endeavor to move forward.
Amend your own story of the situation in your mind, to remind yourself that you did the right thing. Should the situation not resolve itself the way you had hoped, remember that you attempted to forgive the person and that to forgive is a noble action.