The awful truth about forgiveness is that there is no such thing.
The concept of forgiveness is based in the idea that someone can wrong us. This by itself implies that someone has that power. It is easy to accept this limitation since 99.9% of free world shares it; however, just because it's popular doesn't mean it's right.
Since most people believe in this limitation, let's talk about how we would deal with it first.
Forgiveness is acceptance and release. You're done denying, you're done blaming, you're done plotting revenge and you're done complaining or playing the victim. You understand the situation as it is, you know what happened, you know what part you played in it and you are ready to let the hurt go while moving forward in awareness of the actual situation.
People commonly say "I've forgiven him again and again, but he keeps doing it."
My response is, "No, you've denied there is a problem again and again, and he keeps doing it."
Part of forgiveness is acceptance. Letting go of the pain of what someone did to you does not mean that they won't do it again! Accept that they did this to you.
Sure, accidents really and truly happen. I define accidents as aberrations of our standard patterns. Sometimes we do things we normally wouldn't. If the issue WAS an accident then wisdom dictates quickly letting go of the pain and moving forward.
Most of us don't have a problem forgiving accidents. The grudges that last forever are usually things like: "I Loaned him my Camera, he broke it and he didn't fix it," or "For years she told me she was loyal, but she's been screwing someone on the side."
First off we need to recognize that a large part of our grudge isn't toward them. A grudge is often denial. We are denying that we were wrong and we beGRUDGE them for being living examples that we were wrong.
"I trusted her and she broke that trust." That pretty much only hurts until we accept the idea that, "The signs were there, we really shouldn't have trusted her." Not just TELLING ourselves this, but actually believing it. You can usually tell when someone is only telling themselves something they don't believe when they say "I shouldn't have trusted her, but ______" or "I shouldn't have given him the camera, but ______."
This leads to the other scarier "but" statements. "I didn't do anything, but he raped me."
Here is a completely different trust. This isn't toward a person... this is toward a very image of reality. We often end up accepting additional lies to protect ourselves from the truth that could be revealed in these experiences. I'll list a few common ones below. Each of these lies is huge and warrants a whole article on it's own. If I missed one you are experiencing post it as a comment and I'll respond. If you can't perceive how my answer is good also comment. I will endeavor to explain. These are big scary things to many people.
- I was safe at home, but he broke in and attacked me - There is no such thing as being completely safe while we are alive. We manifest risk as part of our experiences. We need to accept this and learn to trust our current level of risk acceptance. Healing from painful experiences helps us risk more. When I have a broken leg I won't want to go try to climb a mountain. When I have a broken heart I won't want to risk a relationship. Even if I can guess/intuit it, I probably won't tell you why you manifested this painful experience, but you did manifest it. The more we master ourselves the more we master our manifestation, but I don't think I've ever seen someone completely master it. What would be the point to living without ANY chance?
- He needs to be punished for making me go through this this - I manifest my reality. You manifest yours. It is perfectly ok to not understand WHY we might have manifested something, but choosing to continue to give your anger and blame to someone else,even if they played a leading part in this experience, is not going to help you. Only learning to accept the experience and find your power will help you. Focusing on revenge or punishment will only delay your accepting your situation and re-finding your power.
- People who do this are evil - Define Evil. We like this word as it allows us to create this giant bad guy or conglomeration of bad guys who we don't have to understand or sympathize with. We can blame everything we don't like on them and deny responsibility for our problems. My business failed because SATAN couldn't stand my goodness? no... my business failed because my services and products sucked. When we are willing to accept responsibility for our manifestations and actually look at the person(s) we've labeled as evil we find that they are usually normal people who made bad choices... often whole strings of them. Maybe they still WANT to keep making bad choices. However, they had a Mom and a Dad and they probably loved them at one time. They probably yearn to be happy and loved, but are so far away from it that they can't conceive of it. When we study "evil" we usually end up feeling love and compassion for it.
- I shouldn't have sinned - You didn't. God loves you no matter what. Sin is an illusion that we can do something to separate ourselves from God. You can't hurt God or even his/her Feelings. He's too big and he loves you no matter what. You don't need to get God's forgiveness for anything you did because you never hurt him in the first place. You never left him, you just forgot he was there.
- I shouldn't have hurt them - You have accepted that you did something you don't like! Good first step. Do you want to change that about yourself? Then do so. The process of "forgiving yourself" is to: Feel the Shame, Guilt or whatever you are feeling. Feel EVERYTHING. Are you happy you did it and ashamed that you are happy. Accept it all. Once you have accepted everyone it's like some magical release. You know what you did and you are free to move forward unchained from the emotions and patterns of the past.
- No loving God could let this happen - We are expressions of God. The pain, the trapped, the suffering and the horror... it's all us expressing the glory of God. Without us Expressing our pain, sorrow and sadness God would never know it and God is infinite. Someone was going to, snaps for being the ones with the balls to sign up for it. Thank you. Without the Shadow, the Light doesn't seem so bright.
- I can't trust anymore - You can choose anything you want. I won't stop you, but a life without trust... that's a small sad one. I don't know why you would choose it, but I tip my hat.
Once we let go of our self-lies, the process of accepting the pain and opening to the idea that the experience was a goodness becomes much easier. We still have to process it. We have to feel the emotions and move on... in that order. Skipping just results in going to the back of the line and holding up the whole thing. You aren't completely living in joy until you let go of your pain... and to let it go you need to experience it fully. At this point HOW to do this varies from person to person. I recently found Things are Going Great in my Absence:How to let go and let the Divine do the Heavy Lifting. It was am amazing shortcut. However, if it's not for you, good therapy rocks! Scientology's little release technology has its uses too, but I wouldn't trust them not to do some reprogramming while in there "releasing" stuff.
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Congratulations you are free of the "Need to forgive!" What about trust?
People are what they are. You let go of misconceptions and accepted the emotions of the experience. Accepting persons as they are will allow you to be honest about their faults. Accepting them doesn't mean necessarily letting them continue what they were doing.
If someone is an alcoholic, part of accepting that about them is deciding whether I will help them perpetuate this or not. I will protect my alcohol stash from them. I would be a fool to trust them to not touch it when they are yearning. I can love the person and distrust their patterns. I can even still be around them if I want. Just be honest. If they do something that is in their pattern you aren't hurt, you accepted the action and the consequences before they did it.
Additionally you can choose that it's not worth it. I have ex-friends who I don't want to deal with anymore. They would repeat what they did, and I'm not willing to be risk being in that situation to have a relationship with them. I still love them, from way over here...
With total acceptance and love, this whole game is unnecessary because you experience everything fully and let it go to move on.
- Update 1 -
Unfortunately, the sad part about wisdom is that just because we receive it doesn't mean we always USE it...
I had to edit the wording of my "ex-friend stuff" twice. Once because I said I'd forgiven them, showing how much I can fall into the very trap I wrote this article to deal with. THEN by saying that I didn't want to be hurt by them anymore; again admitting I'd blamed them for my own manifesting and haven't yet followed my own advice.
In reviewing and updating this version it occurs to me that the challenge I face in dealing with these persons the way I used to is not them. I am avoiding them because I do not like what I become (what I manifest) when I am "sharing air" with them. As I cover in "Dealing with the Devil, What is a soul and why you can't sell it" we tend to like to get other people to play our games. Our dramas are more fun with other participants.
My ex-friends aren't ex-friends because they might do something to me. They are ex-friends because I have decided to stop playing the dramas that defined who we were. The dramas that built our relationships. I essentially said "Let's play a new game." and they said "no." So I stopped playing with them.
Power Before Wisdom