Forgiveness is for you.
Did that make you think? Did you automatically disagree with that statement?
I wouldn't be suprised.
The word forgiveness often makes us cringe.
FORGIVENESS - you're kidding right?
Nope, just bear with me for a while here.
When I bring up the word forgiveness to my clients, the reaction is usually palpable. They don't like it. They don't think it's a good thing, and they certainly don't want to do it.
What does it even MEAN?
verb for·give \fər-ˈgiv, fȯr-\
Simple Definition of forgive
: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)
: to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)
: to stop requiring payment of (money that is owed)
Seems straightforward doesn't it?
To stop feeling anger toward a wrongdoing. SImple as that. Yet, we are so against the idea of forgiveness. Why is that?
It seems that somewhere along the way, forgiveness has been confused with acceptance.
To clarify, in order to forgive (to stop feeling anger), we need not accept the wrongdoing that we have incurred.
This was powerful learning for me, and opened the door for a bit of a turning point in my own life.
When we choose to forgive, we do so for ourself, not for anyone else. Forgiveness is quite simply letting go of the anger associated with the wrongdoing.
Forgiveness does not make what happened any less wrong, hurtful, or sad.
Forgiveness does allow us to let go of emotions that are not serving us, because when it comes down to it, withholding forgiveness only causes us to feel more hurt, angry, or sad.
Those who have wronged us feel no consequences as a result of our withholding forgiveness. They have no idea that we are holding on to all of this pain. It likely does not affect them.
So, forgiveness is for you. Not for them. When we learn this, we can accept injustices for what they are, and acknowledge the pain that someone has caused us, without having it cause us to hurt in the present.
Forgiveness does not equal acceptance.