The pain of the past can haunt us for decades. How do we come to terms with situations in which we have been hurt by others and come to the other side where we experience inner peace and healing? You might be wondering is forgiveness helpful or harmful?
Unfortunately, there are many individuals who are struggling with their own wounds. As a result, they interact harmfully with others. Individuals who are unhealthy and continue to engage in destructive ways with others can leave us feeling tormented. Is it beneficial to forgive such individuals?
It may be beneficial to see a real distinction between forgiveness and detachment or letting go. While it may be difficult to forgive individuals who have engaged in toxic ways, it is possible to deal with your own pain, anger or fear in a healthy manner. The goal in healing is to allow your heart to remain open and loving. In doing so, you are able to process and release the trauma, painful emotions hurtful individuals may evoke in you.
Harboring feelings such as anger at those who hurt us keeps us attached to those very individuals and therefore maintains suffering. In certain circumstances, it may be beneficial to completely detach from the hurtful people in your life without having to forgive them. Unfortunately, there will be individuals that you may encounter who may never be healthy to maintain relationships with.
So what does detaching entail? Detaching allows us to fully separate from whoever or whatever caused us harm. It can be done through grieving or exercises designed to help us process and release suppressed emotions. We can let go through journaling, art, movement, meditation or therapy. Peace is a result from letting go, not from watching the other person being punished.
What circumstances may warrant forgiveness:
1: The person understands that they have engaged in wrongful behavior and are genuinely remorseful
2: they acknowledge what they have done and apologize sincerely for it
3: they make appropriate amends and
4: they promise never to do it again and follow through with their promise.
If all of these criteria are met and we feel inclined, we might then choose to forgive the other person. Forgiveness does not equate to continuing to have a relationship with them or that we can fully trust them.
Forgiveness is voluntary: a gift we choose to give to the other person. It’s recognition that we no longer hold anger toward them and that we recognize them as a basically good person who made a bad choice. When we engage in the process of forgiveness, we have decided to put the problem behind us. At this point we can either go our separate ways or resume our relationship without holding on to any bad feelings. Forgiveness is the first step in an amicable separation or in a full reconciliation. Forgiveness does not entail that we erase from our memories what has transpired.
The act of forgiveness is a way of giving the other person a chance to redeem themselves over time by demonstrating that they deserve our forgiveness. It should never be forced on anyone, as this could be detrimental to one’s emotional state. What is always helpful is to let go of our hurts and free ourselves of bitterness, resentment and rage.
When we carry around indignation, resentment or the desire for vengeance, we continue to be poisoned by the past. Detaching in love is healing because we let go of the past and wish the healing to all involved. With or without forgiveness, we can walk away from the hurtful persons or events and carry on with our lives with no residue from the past clinging to us as a ball and chain.
I am committed to providing the highest quality of care and maintain a deep desire to facilitate personal transformation that allows individuals to live whole-heartedly. My desire is that individuals live a life embodied with peace, joy, love, and prosperity. I hope to accomplish my purpose, which is to help you live your dream of realizing your fullest potential in a personal and meaningful manner that allows you to live the life you want.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.