Yesterday’s Inspir3 newsletter that was emailed out to subscribers was about letting go of abuse. Forgiveness was one of the topics I mentioned as a way to heal. This was met with anger and at least one subscriber opted out of the newsletter along with sending a scathing retort which was not the most pleasant discovery to start the morning with. But, I do understand that forgiveness is controversial and misunderstood. I also know that not everyone will always agree with me, yet I certainly never intend to cause bad feelings.
Is Forgiveness a Dirty Word for You?
The biggest assumption about forgiveness is that it means allowing an abusive person/people/entity to escape consequences for their actions, to tell them “it’s okay”. But that is not accurate. You can forgive and still hope that the offending entity learns the appropriate lesson. It’s just more about stepping down from the feeling that you are supposed to be the one to deliver that message.
It’s refusing to drink the poison Kool-aid of resentment, while hoping someone else dies from it.
Forgiveness is not something that you do once and forget about it. It’s an ongoing process that can be very difficult, but the benefits are measurable. It is down in the trenches, roll up your sleeves and sweat hard work. Often times it starts with “false forgiveness”. This type of forgiveness is almost like a punishment delivered with condescension and isn’t helpful. But if you dig deeper you learn that the truth of forgiveness is its dirty, difficult work that you revisit often. It’s not about holding yourself above the person(s) you decide to forgive, it’s about saying “I am leaving this situation behind and will only pack what’s best for me”.
True forgiveness is often times like eating an elephant. If you take one bite at a time, eventually there will be nothing left but bones. That is where there is peace and freedom. Maybe not peace as in rose colored glasses bliss, but a different kind where you realize the burden of not forgiving weighs you down so much more than accepting the burden of working to the other side of forgiveness.
Anyway, the newsletter I sent was an actual message to a client that has suffered tremendously, and ongoing work with forgiveness has allowed that person to escape feeling consumed with revenge fantasies. In that way, it’s a seed of peace, planted in your own heart. It might have thorns to protect against further abuse, but the empowerment, letting go of toxins that can cause further abuse to the self and moving on to a happy life is when true wellbeing begins.
In an essence, this type of forgiveness is like saying “I turn your actions over to the Universe and may you learn your lessons without my ongoing attachment” Because ultimately the feelings of anger, powerlessness, resentment and pain keep you attached to whoever caused you this pain. Forgiveness releases those chains. That is when you realize the burden is not in the work of forgiveness, the burden is in holding on to what was done.
Is forgiveness a dirty word, or is it a gift you give to yourself? I’ll let you decide. In the meantime, I stand to forgive, move on and have a better day.