Sometimes I think the word “forgiveness” can be a taboo word. It is a buzz word in some circles….and we can feel pressure from several communities to move toward forgiveness. And it can be touchy, but I think that it is a misunderstood word. And to truly forgive can be such a challenge. But here’s the scoop: When you forgive….it is never,ever for the person who offended you. It is for you and all about you.
When you get this….truly wrap your head around this simple truth….that you forgiving is all about you….then it becomes an easier process. I think so many times we are afraid we are letting someone off the hook….sometimes that person deserves justice….or consequences. The person we are letting off the hook when we forgive is ourselves.
We so often put so much energy into holding onto the wrong that someone else did that we use up our own reserves of energy. I want that energy back…..there are so many important things I can do with that energy, including putting that energy into our healing….maybe even healing some of the hurt created by the one who offended us.
Sometimes, in order to really get this concept, we need to look at what forgiveness is NOT!
- It is not erasing the responsibility that the other person holds for their actions. It is the letting go of an obligation that WE MAKE SURE they accept that responsibility. If a law has been broken, we can do what is necessary to report the crime and even give personal testimony, if applicable. But it is not our responsibility to investigate or prosecute….there are entities who do this. If no crime was committed, we can just truly understand that the actions taken are on the offender. They may change….they may not. They may try to make amends….they may not. That is on them. It can be hard to trust that they will get their “just desserts,” but we just gotta take care of “our side of the street” as it were.
- It is not softening of our boundaries to protect us from future wrongdoing. Sometimes quite the opposite. Protecting ourselves and maybe even our families from this person may be even more necessary. It just really depends on the situation. Be careful not to go extreme either way. If we get too rigid with our boundaries and never trust anyone….we lose even more! We need connections in this world. The most important person we need to trust is ourselves. We need to trust that we will take the action necessary if someone does us wrong again.
- It is not a declaration that we deserved whatever happened to us! NOT AT ALL! We deserve to be treated with love and respect at all times. If someone, purposefully or not, treats us otherwise….that NEVER EVER means we deserve it.
Forgiveness is a process. We can let go and then find that we pick it right back up. But it is crucial to understand that it is always for us and not the other person. What do you think? Is it hard to wrap your brain around this concept? Are there other things you find that forgiveness is NOT?