You know those times where someone accidentally hurts you and you feel a sudden rush of anger. Maybe they stepped on your toe or banged into your arm, and even though you know they didn’t mean too you’re still pissed. You didn’t deserve that, why were they so careless?
You know it’s illogical to be angry, but that doesn’t stop you from feeling the feelings. It’s almost an automatic response. I’m the victim, I have a right.
I feel as though this situation is parallel in so many ways to when people hurt us emotionally. There are so many factors that play into it, of course, but most of the time (even in the worst ways) people who hurt us emotionally never intended to. It’s the same carelessness, shortsightedness, and self-involvement that causes both types of inflictions.
The people who hurt us are being pushed and pulled by so many other forces that were almost just an unlucky canoe rocking in the wake of their “shit”. I can pretty much guarantee it’s not about you.
Even still, it doesn’t stop us from feeling the hurt, and being pissed.
So, we feel the feelings. We need to. We obviously can’t shove it under the rug. That can only make things worse.
But sometimes we come around to the point of wanting to let it go. We come around to the point of wanting to forgive.
Forgiveness, however, can be a tricky thing. It has been for me, anyway. On one hand, you hear things like “forgiveness will set you free”. But deep inside you fear that giving in and forgiving will dismiss the hurt that was caused.
It almost feels like letting someone off the hook.
Although if we return to the concept I introduced at the beginning of this blog, we can begin to look at it in a similar vein.
We can circle back around to logic, but instead of it all coming from the head- we can also pull from the heart.
In the bigger picture, forgiveness is seeing the situation as larger than just you and the person who hurt you. It’s recognizing that the person who hurt you is much more than all the programming that led them to do so.
Love is that the core of everyone, and to be honest, the most painful part of it all is believing anything otherwise.
Does it not instantly soften you to think of people as inherently good, but just subject to shitty conditions? It does for me.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a still a battlefield in my mind. My ego-self still wants to be pissed. After all, the person I’m working to forgive is the one that was supposed to be my foundational source of safety, my mother. Instead she spent her life derailing mine.
A huge part of me still feels the sting. But when I realize that it’s not just me as my “ego representative” forgiving her “ego representative” and that it’s not me losing, I feel relief. When I realize that it’s the deep seated self that lives at the core of me, under my thoughts, under my wild emotions fueled by hormones and external conditions. The one that’s there in those quiet spaces between the whirlwind of human existence, I feel relief.
When I know that the work I’m doing to forgive is me choosing love over anger, I feel the work is larger than the relationship between her and I alone.
Forgiveness is choosing to recognize that same core in another person, regardless of all the shit that’s built up on top of it over the years. Like a tumbleweed of ca-ca.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to let that person have access to you in the same way ever again. In fact, probably best to learn a bit more about setting healthy boundaries from the experience.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be “nice” or “friendly” it just has to come from the heart.
Forgiveness is FOR YOU. But it’s also for everyone around you because anger and hate in your heart are never neutral. They ARE hurting someone. Believing people are inherently bad only puts a negative filter on your entire outlook on the world. And when a negative outlook or a bitter heart is your starting point, that will affect every interaction you have with every person you ever encounter, even if it’s just in the most minuscule ways.
I’m not saying you have to open your heart to everyone you pass by- in fact, quite the opposite. People need to earn your trust and the position in your life to have that kind of backstage access.
I’m just saying the work of forgiveness isn’t like a game of tennis where one person ultimately must lose. I think it’s noble work. It’s honourable work. And don’t forget, it is WORK.
It takes time, but all things that are worth it do. So as you rub your funny bone, even though it’s never funny; and you swear under your breath. Have a little chat with yourself about it, or 26463737 chats over several years. But I suggest you keep revisiting the idea, even if you only take tiny steps towards it. A step towards forgiveness is always one in the right direction.
Do you have someone you’re havinf tepuvle forgiving??