Forgiveness of self or others can be an area of growth that we can struggle with. Throughout our entire lives forgiveness will need to be practiced. Individuals that struggle with self-worth, self-compassion and forgiveness may struggle in this area. The ability to forgive ourselves and others opens our hearts to self-love and as a result we can extend this love to others.
Sadly, individuals may carry a grudge for years. During these moments we experience self-righteous because of a transgression someone committed against us. This has been referred to by others as the prison of self-righteous resentment. Being imprisoned in our inability to forgive provides us with the opportunity to be right. The other side of the same coin is that we never get to be happy.
As a therapist, I have been privy to individuals being treated in horrifying manners that seem beyond belief and create deep wounds and traumas. There is no denying the pain that others create, particularly from individuals we consider loved ones. While forgiveness cannot be coerced; there is a double edge sword to being unwilling to forgive. Being unwilling to forgive is a form of suffering that we inflict upon ourselves. Bitterness is similar to swallowing a teaspoon of poison every day. It accumulates and harms us, not the individual that we are angry or resentful toward.
It is impossible to be healthy, free-spirited and living in the preset when we keep ourselves bound to the hurt and profound pain of past events. The incident is long gone and over with. Yes, it is true that they did not behave well or lovingly. However, the good news is that it is over. An obstacle to forgiveness is that sometimes individuals feel that if we forgive those who have hurt us, then we are insinuating that what they did to us was okay. It never is.
One of our greatest spiritual lessons is to understand that everyone is doing the best they can at any given moment. People can only do so much with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge that they have. Invariably, anyone who mistreats someone was mistreated themselves as a child. The greater the level of violence, the greater their own inner pain, and the more they may lash out or cause pain to others. This is not to say that their behavior is acceptable or excusable. However, for our own spiritual growth, we must be aware of their pain. That does not equate to tolerating their behavior. It means having better boundaries with others and being able to let go so that we can live freely, joyfully and whole-heartedly.
The incident is over. Let it go. Allow yourself to be free. Come out of the self-righteous prison and step into the sunshine and beauty of life. If the incident is still going on, then ask yourself why do you think so little of yourself that you tolerate the hurt and/or abuse.? Why do you stay in such a situation?
Raise your self-worth to such a level that you only allow loving experiences in your life. Do not waste time trying to “get even” or seek vengeance. It does not help you progress in your personal growth, nor does it move you toward experiencing greater love that the universe has to offer. What we give out always comes back to us. So release the past and work on loving ourselves in the now. Then we will create a promising and bright future.
The person who is hardest to forgive is the one can be your greatest teacher and who can teach you the greatest lessons. When you love yourself enough to rise above the former situation, then understanding and forgiveness will be easy. And you will be free to live in the moment. To think, feel and act from a place of love rather than bitterness.
An interesting phenomenon is that when we do our own forgiveness work, other people often respond to it. It is not necessary to go to the person who wronged you and tell them that you forgive them. You may want to do this, but it is not necessary. The major work in forgiveness is done in your own heart.
Forgiveness is seldom for “them.” It is for us and our own healing and personal growth.
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.