Today I am writing about forgiveness and from a very particular standpoint. Forgiveness is a tricky thing. It is not a singular action that you can do or say that will have an immediate result. It is a process. With any process this takes time and diligence and persistence. As I have been reading about what forgiveness is and what can be mistaken for true forgiveness I found a quote that really spoke true to me.
“We don’t always have to tell them we have forgiven them. Self-righteously announcing our gracious forgiveness to someone who has not asked to be forgiven may be a manipulation to make them feel guilty. It also is a form of pride.” – (reference: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/forgiveness-and-restoration/forgiveness-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt)
Now the blog as a whole I am not supporting and the aspects of religion and God are not part of my own truth, but this idea is something a lot of people miss.
I personally feel that true forgiveness needs to come within ourselves. From my experiences of learning to let go of things I have realized the reason I hold on so tightly to negative feelings comes from my inability to accept that I need to forgive myself for doing the best I can. Even when I make mistakes, they are essentially lessons that I need to learn from so I can grow to be a more compassionate, understanding and peaceful person. *(Well, those are my goals in who I am working on being so yours might be different)*
I have been faced with many situations that were either outside of my control or were caused by my own actions. While ones being cause by me are easy to see I need to forgive myself because it is clear to see my own involvement to get to this point, it is much harder to come to terms that I need to forgive myself in situations where I feel hurt not from my own actions. What I have found is that there is always an element that I need to forgive myself. I’ve held onto hurt because I have felt that I could have acted in some way to prevent getting to these points. It is the shame I feel within myself for not being a stronger or more in-tune person. We cannot control other people and sometimes we react in situations that in retrospect we feel could have been done differently. The thing is we always do the best we can with the tools we have at the time, and if we don’t act our best that’s ok too. The point is to learn from mistakes and strive to be better people to ourselves and to others.
So, I come back to this self proclaimed act of forgiving someone who isn’t asking for it. Forgiveness starts from within. When we can truly forgive ourselves and whatever involvement we played to get to these points in our lives then we will be able to more accurately see if and when the person who we want to forgive is ready to be forgiven. If you are in a position that you’ve been hurt externally by someone, having compassion toward them is the opposite of what they are looking to get as a reaction. When we fight fire with fire we just get more fire. When we fight fire with water or with some other thing we can dispel it. This works the same in this situation.
When someone lashes out or you lash out, and it comes from hurt feelings then the point is to have compassion and respect for those hurt feelings. The actions are done and the situation has played itself out. Letting go of what has happened in our past and forgiving ourselves is the first step. This allows us to open up and truly se if another party is involved if they are open to hearing they have been forgiven. Why can this be a manipulative tool that can hurt someone? Everyone wants to know they have been forgiven for their mistakes, right?
Well, if the other person hasn’t forgiven themselves then they may being feeling shame or guilt. To hear another person give them forgiveness will only bring up those deeply hurting feelings and intensify them. When others forgive us and we are still being hard on ourselves it makes it very hard for us to look at ourselves the same way this loving person does. Shame and guilt are self inflicted views of how we see ourselves and it takes a lot to be understanding that we make mistakes and that is ok.
So ultimately I feel that forgiving ourselves and just holding space and compassion for others to come to an open place to accept true forgiveness is the best way to go. It may not always be easy for us because we all want to judge and offer advice based on our own positions in life from what we have learned. But look back at your own life. If someone would have given you advice that would have made things much easier when you see it in retrospect, would you have been open enough to take the advice without having to go through something to find your own truth in it?
I’ve always seen for myself its a probably not. We all have to find our own truths in life. Sometimes we don’t have to go through things to learn but sometimes we can only truly find our truth by going through it.
The trick here is to always take time to consider where you are and what you true intentions are when you openly offer forgiveness to someone. And you don’t have to tell them directly either for forgiveness to be felt. Words are hard to hear and when someone is closed off or we ourselves have closed off, words can misconstrued in our heads. There are multiple means to phrases and words so we don’t always have the same definitions that others do. But, true forgiveness can be shown through gentle actions and be heard much more easily. Body language has a way off seeping into to make people feel comfortable or not the way that words can never do. So it is important to be strong and emanate forgiveness in everything we do when we truly are being forgiving. If that is to ourselves or others. If we can be compassionate and understanding then it will be much easier to hear when someone is actually asking for forgiveness so they can find peace within themselves.
Actions speak louder than words.
Words have many meanings and can be interpreted in different ways depending on our own definitions. Body language and actions are interpreted by our own intentions and will be speak much louder than anything we can say from our mouths to our brains.