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How forgiveness has changed for me

Long ago and in a forum far away a friend and I used to go 'round and 'round about the nature of forgiveness and its uses. She was all, "Forgive all the peoples!" I was all, "RAWR! Bullshit!" That is of course an oversimplification of our stances. While I gave her the points that carrying the type of energy necessary to remain angry and resentful against someone harms yourself and not them since they are often oblivious to it I wouldn't budge on the who in the scenario warranted the forgiveness and how to parse it out.

I felt it was important to forgive myself for whatever piece I was responsible for. Sometimes that piece was was merely not acting differently and that forgiveness of self was needed in those situations, too, to move forward without the heavy stone labeled "I behaved badly".

I explained that I could forgive myself, let go of the other emotions, and move forward without forgiving the other person. I still believe this to be true with a caveat. I have found that in most circumstances passing a parcel of forgiveness to the other person indeeds frees up another part of me. Not a part that is holding me back from moving forward, but a part that is holding me back from being who I wish to be - my best self. I found that the face of forgiveness had a different look than I had previously envisioned.

This realization coincided with work I began doing about 4 years ago to love people as they are in any given moment. Loving people where they are right here, right now was a hard thing for me to make a habit. Diligence, lots of backsliding when temporarily forgetting to do this, forgiving myself for forgetting, then righting it took more than a year to make it habit enough to stick.

Sometimes I still forget, still fail at it. In the heat of some moments it is so much easier to find reasons not to love someone since doing so requires carrying that love through their worst behaviour. That is the point for me, though. Loving people through their worst behaviour rather than in spite of their worst behaviour leaves me at the other side with who I wish to be. It has greatly reduced angst, anger, and resentments surrounding spousal behaviour that used to hurt deeply. It has done the same for the kids' behaviours when I think they are harming themselves. It has helped smooth friendship bumps and co-worker difficulties. It hasn't just helped me be my best self. It has allowed other people to be that, too, because me pouring love out on the ground instead of trying to change them or coerce them out of their bad behaviour frees them to self-correct on their terms and in their own time.

It ends up for me that the act of forgiveness is not so much an act of letting go and moving forward, but a conscious act of pouring love out and over a person, letting it puddle at their feet, and giving them the space they need. Space without my interference in how I want them to be and space without deserting them in their worst moments. It frees them and it frees me.

When I work to be the person I wish to be instead of who I think others want me to be and I extend that courtesy out to those I love forgiveness as I had defined it becomes moot since I am loving them (and myself) exactly as I am in that moment. Gratefully and blissfully we are not stuck in single moments. Remembering that - remembering that worst behaviours are temporary and if I can love others through theirs then I can be loved through mine has opened me in ways I hadn't imagined. I am grateful for that opening of Self.

(Caveat here - I acknowledge that some relationships are forever toxic and need to be walked away from to save yourself. I am not speaking of those and which those are I leave for each individual's determination.)

This entry was originally posted at http://pj.dreamwidth.org/377638.html. Please comment here or there there using your LJ ID or OpenID.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
I subscribe to the theory one cannot completely forgive themselves without also forgiving the other person.

I believe forgiveness is, to coin the cliche, "chicken soup for the soul." It is healing, it resolves karmic duties/debts or pays it forward, and creates a sense of peace and the ability to move forward.

Carrying resentment (unforgivenness...is that a word?) is as caustic as lye. It's toxicity can make one bitter, devour personal energy, and leave one stuck in a negative feedback loop.

I also believe that some do not deserve love through their worst behaviour. Forgiveness isn't love.

I, too, have worked on the institution of forgiveness over the years. There are still a few people I can't forgive...yet. But I'm working on it. There are two people, specifically, I'm not sure I can ever forgive...others, though, I'm hoping to get over myself at some point LOL and just forgive them and let it go.
Mar. 12th, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
If unforgiveness is not a word it certainly should be!

Some do not get my love through their worst behaviour. They can have my general "love all the humans" type which for the worst of the lot is more a splash-n-dash than me pouring out love to them which probably then doesn't really count. Ha! People I already love get it and that makes it seem easier, but I have found sometimes that makes it harder because my expectations are higher for them. That's when I have to remind myself that they are my expectations and have little to do with the other person's reality.

And yes, some people may not ever get forgiven. I am incredibly okay with that for myself because I do as I can, but falling short is an option I leave open to me. Not because I wish to fail, but because I am a lot better at not beating myself to a pulp when I do fail.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )