Thursday, 18 August 2011
I recognize that I do not have a forgiving heart and that is something I want to change about myself. I can intellectualize that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments. The trouble is, I don't really understand forgiveness. What does it even mean? How do you actually forgive? Is forgiveness necessary? I did some research on the internet machine to get some more insight and perspective; what I learned has actually really helped me understand what forgiveness is and even more importantly what forgiveness is not.
Forgiveness IS NOT excusing the behavior or actions of others. I think my biggest struggle with forgiveness has been the feeling that I am condoning hurt others have inflicted on me. What I am coming to see though is that it's not about saying you are okay with what happened or that you agree with it, it's about letting go and moving on.
Forgiveness IS NOT forgetting or wiping the slate. As Arthur Schopenhauer has said "To forgive and forget means to throw away dearly bought experience." Forgiveness does not mean you erase the past, or forget what has happened; all it means is that you are letting go of anger and pain and moving on to a better place.
Forgiveness IS NOT about reconciliation. We have to make a separate decision about whether to reconcile with the person we are forgiving or whether maintaining distance is a healthier choice for us.
Now that I have dissected and analyzed this concept of forgiveness and have been able to differentiate what it is versus what it is not, I believe that FORGIVENESS IS POSSIBLE and even further that forgiveness will change my life. There are people I will find hard to forgive, it will be even harder for me to forgive myself but I know it's time to really let go of the past and focus on the present. I'm moving on.