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.