My opinions are permanently on offer for exchange with better ones
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive
both ourselves and others.
He or she who is devoid of the power to forgive,
is devoid of the power to love.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act – it is a permanent attitude.
Martin Luther King
It is one of life’s most terrible ironies, that ongoing rage and hatred can be as connective as love. It can fill our minds and colour all our senses. It can keep us tied to that person or to those events, and distract us from living a rich and authentic life.
Forgiveness is definitely not condoning what’s been done. It means taking what happened seriously and not minimising it – but drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens to poison our entire existence. Forgiveness when it happens, is able to remove the dead weight from our past and give us back our lives
So, forgiveness is the means to release yourself from an experience of hurt, injury, wounding, suffering, humiliation, or pain that has already passed. It is what allows you at least some separation from that experience, so that you can be fresh to what is present in this moment. It calls on wisdom and calls out to love and forges them into something strong enough, not to wipe out what has happened, but to transform the way that one now views the memory of this event.
However, when we have been deeply hurt or wounded, forgiveness offends the rational mind, and is extremely difficult. In emotional terms it is Everest without oxygen, Wimbledon without a racquet and La Scala without a score. So to grope our way to forgiveness, we may need to circumvent the rational mind, or to transcend it. Indeed, at the start of this journey, the best we can do is to open-heartedly commit ourselves to the process, for our own peace of mind and heart.
Forgiveness of others is a process like grief and loss. You can’t get to the end before you experience the journey to get there. The steps along the way don’t happen in any particular order. They include denial – not recognising the effect that it had on you, the rage at the injustice of whatever was perpetrated on you, the grief and pain – maybe the loss of innocence and finally the release into the space of healing.
We are only free of this burden of pain, when we can lead a full life, alongside the awareness and healing of whatever it was that we experienced in the past that was so very painful.
Forgiveness of our self for what we have done to both our self and others is for another day
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