Forgiveness is one of the world’s greatest mysteries, one that seems to always come with a short answer “just accept and move on”. Hah! Yeah right… seriously? Just accept it and move on? You have to be kidding people!
After hearing that one liner so many times I stopped asking others how they came to forgive another. I started to realize that each of us have our own journeys to live with roads that may intersect at times but overall are lived only by us. No one can tell you how to come to a place where forgiving someone for something they did to you is accomplished.
That said, I have also come to realize that in order for any one of us to reach a place where we genuinely forgive another we have to face the past and the transgression head on. We can skim over it and act like we have forgiven someone but all it does is delay the pain.
I call forgiveness a devil ghost with a multitude of horns for it haunts us, sits on both our shoulders and whispers negativity, it reminds us of the hurt and encourages us to distrust constantly. Forgiveness is a ghost that can haunt our lives right up till the time we join it in a ghostly fashion. No, you can’t just forget nor can you just accept and move on. If that were the case there would be no vengeful acts or murders, suicides or even estranged relatives.
So how can you come to accept and to forgive?
The long and short of it is that it is ultimately up to you. From my experience it is a lifelong process with many different stages and in turn these stages can often take the form of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. Much like how they work in the 5 Stages of Grief, these 5 amigos swing between each other.
It’s easy to deny that we are hurt, more often than not it is easier to pretend we weren’t hurt in the first place as a “pay back” against the person who hurt us… I think that deep down we truly want to believe that we weren’t hurt by their actions, that we aren’t that weak.
Anger… well that is a totally different matter, one we all know too well (well I do anyways).
Bargaining – Perhaps it was actually me, perhaps they didn’t really mean to hurt me so badly, maybe I instigated it!
Depression, now this one sneaks up on you, it slips in undetected and normally this only comes in when the hurt is so profound that it changes how we “operate” or our belief structures.
From my experience:
· Acceptance feels like knowing that what happened to you can never be undone.
· Knowing that the lessons in what happened, how you reacted and how the other person acted, help you be a better person and guide you towards the person you want to be.
· Knowing that you yourself are capable of doing what was done to you (it’s the scary truth).
It comes in many different shapes and forms and it can take a life time to attain, your friends and/or loved ones may not understand how you could ever reach it and that it is ok… and the cherry on the cake is that more often than not you reach it without even realizing. One day you suddenly realize that you are not carrying the extra weight on your shoulders anymore and you smile.
I’ve mourned my childhood and I have mourned the ideals I had set for certain figures in my life, I have heard the request for forgiveness from another and understood that those that hurt us don’t always realize they hurt us unless we let them know.
I’m no guru nor do I proclaim anything but I do speak from my own personal journey in hope that perhaps it helps you.
One day at a time, focus on today and the rest will follow