Something You Have to Forgive Someone For
If forgiving myself was hard to choose a topic because I tend to take responsibility for everything, then forgiving someone else was even more difficult. For the most part, I’ve had a relatively easy life. I’ve had my heart broken a time or two. I was an occasional victim of bullying and name-calling (Cupcake or Pig Junior). I guess there have been a couple of more serious hurts as well. However, I’ve already forgiven everyone I need to. This could be because I turn the blame on myself. It probably is in some cases.
A larger reason is because of my amazingly healthy outlook. Don’t get me wrong, I used to harbor anger against lots of people for various hurts. It was an amazing amount of work to give forgiveness. Through my work as a youth counselor and behavior disorders teacher and the energy healing that I’ve studied, my outlook has become much healthier.
One of the biggest reasons we hang on to hatred and anger is the fear our forgiveness will be seen as approval. It isn’t at all a sign of approval. It is simply saying, “I refuse to give you any more power to hurt me.” We have to forgive those who hurt us to free ourselves from the pain. Looking back at my name-calling examples, I was truly upset, hurt and angry. I’d go home mad and cry to my mom. Of course, the bully went on about his/her day completely unaffected by calling me a name. Holding on to my anger didn’t hurt them back, change their behavior or make me feel better. Forgiving them, also had no impact on them, but it freed me from the pain. It freed me from being a victim.
Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that we have to like the person. Amazingly, hate and love are not opposites. They are both passionate thought-consuming feelings. We perseverate on one we love just as we would someone we hate. Both of those emotions consume incredible time and energy. For someone that hurt us, we simply want to neutralize those negative feelings, not turn them into love. We want to be able to go through a day without our thoughts being consumed by the person who wronged us.
The other thing that makes it a bit easier to forgive someone is to realize that (the whole feel guilty for everything mentality) when I’ve analyzed how I could have done things differently to avoid hurting someone I care about, I usually know I couldn’t have done anything differently. It’s usually after we hurt someone and feel guilty that we learn something isn’t acceptable.
Even when people deliberately hurt another, it is usually because they have no other way to express themselves. They might be repeating a learned behavior and not really understand how hurtful their actions are. With the high number of mentally ill persons in prison, we have to ask if they really could have done anything differently. I seriously doubt they could and harboring hatred hurts us, not them.
One of the most compelling examples of healing through forgiveness is the incredible woman, Eva Kor. You can visit her CANDLES Museum’s web site for lots more information, but boiled down, Eva Kor and her twin sister were sent to Auschwitz where they underwent cruel experiments by Dr. Mengele. Through years of pain, she finally realized that to heal meant she had to forgive Dr. Mengele. Her story is told in the documentary Forgiving Dr. Mengele, which is available through Amazon.com.
I guess this post is not really that personally revealing, but it is the truth. I can’t come up with anyone I need to forgive that I haven’t already done so.
NOTE: I’ve not been asked to do a review or promote Amazon.com or Forgiving Dr. Mengele, nor have I received any compensation. I’m simply sharing my opinion on forgiveness.