Trouble with Forgiving

In the past few weeks I’ve had two clients asking questions around forgiveness. Is it true that forgiveness is a choice? In my own experience I’ve found that the willingness to change my perception around a past hurtful experience is the choice. Forgiveness seems to flow naturally out of a changed perspective with no effort once my perception has changed.

My changed perception allows me to see the lessons and oppoturnities within the hurtful experience. It also gives me the chance to look with an overview at the many layers of reality that occur within just one experience.

At that point where my perception has changed to a “higher” or “soul” view, it also feels like there is nothing to forgive in the first place, although I don’t necessarily choose to reconcile with the person who triggered the feelings of betrayal or anger, or whatever.

But, before I can change my perspective, I must feel all the emotions that have been triggered by the situation and acknowlege what happened to me as I experienced it happening at the time. If I don’t do that first, I don’t have any chance of coming to peace around the situation. I’ve tried to skip this feeling step in the past and move straight to looking for life lessons, and it never works. I’m usually back to feeling angry or betrayed soon after.

Everyone once in a while I’ll try and force myself to forgive or at least act forgiving because I know it’s the “right” thing to do. This just sets up a battle within myself and brings me further from peace and closure. Our society is a society that values forgiveness, and as such we might feel pressured into forgiving before we’re ready. I’ve learned to give myself whatever space I need. I’m usually on the verge of discovering something very important about myself that’s being drawn to my attention by the unforgiveness. In that sense, the unforgiveness is very helpful.

I’d love to hear your thoughts around this.

Elaine

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2 Responses to Trouble with Forgiving

  1. wakingup says:

    I have found that I’m unable to completely forgive my FIL for being abusive towards me. His abuse is covert and I’m easy-going so it’s easy enough for me to forgive in such situations usually. But this time it isn’t, I can’t get rid of my anger. As a consequence I’m on a journey to learn as much as I can about abuse, control issues, family dynamics, and boundaries.

    I’ll say I’m learning alot about myself and others by paying attention to my feelings of unforgiveness! This site was the next stop on my journey. Thanks for being here!

    Wakingup

  2. Administrator says:

    Hi Waking Up,

    Good for you for using the uncomfortable emotions of anger and unforgiveness to learn more about yourself and your extended family!! Anger, it seems in this particular case, could be acting as your ally, preventing you from turning back into your easy-going self and getting trashed again by your father-in-law. It may be that once you are able to set the boundary with him, your feelings of anger and the fierce energy it contains will no longer be needed to motivate you to take steps to take care of yourself.

    Thanks for contributing!!
    Elaine

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