Lessons in Forgiveness, Part 2
“Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury.”
–E. H. Chapin
Once again synchronicity has occurred in life. When I notice synchronicity happening, I feel it is important to stop and listen to what the universe is trying to tell me.
A couple of weeks ago I had to write a paper for a class called a “Family of Origin” paper. I had to analyze my own family growing up, and how I experienced conflict within that dynamic. I then had to reflect upon how my experiences impacted me and influenced my conflict style as an adult.
In writing the paper I began to realize that even though I had to deal with some pretty horrific stuff as a child, in many ways what I was exposed to ended up being a benefit to me in my adult life. It showed me thing things I did NOT want in my own life. It showed me things I would NOT tolerate in my own life.
The next day I saw the quote I referenced in my last post, from Oprah Winfrey.
“True forgiveness is when you can say: thank you for that experience.”
I came to some level of awareness that I was open to the idea of forgiveness.
You see, the first time I was told, several years ago, that I could forgive the person who trespassed against me, I was violently opposed to the idea. The very thought angered me.
Because this person will never apologize.
Or accept responsibility for their actions.
They will never acknowledge the hurt they caused.
So I wrote the paper. I came to some realizations about my past experiences. I was open to the idea. Then I went to class and we spent an entire class period talking about what forgiveness is.
The process of forgiving.
And more importantly:
What Forgiveness Is Not.
The process of forgiveness begins with being ready. A step I have achieved.
Then moving on to deciding to forgive.
And in some cases, mine included, the process of deciding and forgiving happens over and over. I decide to forgive and forgive and then I may be reminded of the transgression. I may feel anger, hurt and resentment all over again. In that moment I have to re-affirm my decision to forgive. And then practice that forgiveness. I do not believe that forgiveness is one, single linear act.
Here is what forgiveness is not:
Forgiveness is not condoning.
Forgiveness is not forgetting.
Forgiveness is not reconciliation.
Forgiveness is not excusing.
Forgiveness is a way to move YOURSELF beyond the pain and anger of the act.
Forgiveness is a way to expunge the hurt and poison from your own soul.
Forgiveness requires nothing of the trespasser. They do not need to apologize, explain, acknowledge or accept responsibility.
Because forgiving is not about them. Or what they did.
Forgiveness is about you.
Forgiveness is about repairing your own soul and heart.
Forgiveness is about letting go of something that is not about you and creating room for healing within you.
I do not believe that the trespasser has any part in the equation of forgiveness. They do not need to be informed of forgiveness. There does not need to be reconciliation.
Forgiveness is for you.
Synchonicity brought these successive ideas into my realm. And I listen. I process. And now I share this with you. I think the message is something the universe wants us all to hear.