“Every sadness of the human heart, every indignity of the human condition, every tragedy of the human experience can be attributed to one human decision- the decision to withdraw from each other. Ignoring our oneness creates the deepest loneliness of the human heart, and every misery of the human condition”. Neale Donald Walsch
Love is the grandmother of compassion, compassion is the mother of forgiveness, and forgiveness is the sister of gratitude, and acceptance. A symbiotic and harmonious relationship between them is important in the act of forgiveness.
It is said that forgiveness is the act of the release of anger and resentment towards a person or event. In days of old, it means to “completely give”.
What are we REALLY giving? And Why is it so hard?
When we forgive, we choose to ‘let go’ of the emotions of hurt, anger, resentment, and honor the beliefs we have around the person or situation and change the “story we tell ourselves”
In the act of non- forgiveness, we feel empowered, or perhaps entitled in our illusion of empowerment; we feel strong, safe, as we stand armed and cloaked, protecting ourselves from those that have wronged us. But are we REALLY protecting ourselves?
Harboring ill feelings keeps us in a state of constant stress, fight or flight, battle mode, and hypervigilance; always looking for the next threat that can break our hearts and wound our spirit. It takes a lot of energy to maintain those states. And if we choose to just ‘forget’ with our minds, our body continues to remember, as those trapped, and unreleased energies find a place within our body to reside. This leads to physical energetic blockages and manifest as pain, or other dis- ease in the body.
In the act of non- forgiving all we are doing is continuously hurting ourselves.
So, the real question becomes, after the hurtful event takes place, and the perpetrator is no longer in the picture, and we continue to hurt ourselves…
Why can’t we find a way to forgive ourselves? What are we actually forgiving? And How do we forgive?
Big questions. The WHY is filled with internal soul searching, and perhaps various forms of therapy. The WHAT entails a deep and honest conversation within ourselves and our beliefs in our own self- worth, and self-love. It also lies within the recognition of the magnificence of who we are and from where we came. Of course, the recognition, remorse and apology from the person we are trying to forgive is what we seem to want, but sometimes that is not possible and sometimes even in light of that action, we still find it hard to forgive.
In the end, it always falls back unto us, and how we feel and the story we tell about ourselves. AND we can choose to feel different, and we can choose to create a new story.
With a little help from compassion, gratitude and acceptance; they show us how and give us the support and strength to do so.
First, we need to accept ourselves, our feelings, our pain without judgement, guilt, or shame. When we identify the emotional tether, we can cut the tie and let that go. Think of it as an anchor weighing you down and release it.
Next, find gratitude in the lessons you have learned by going through the experience and any processes. Take note of the accomplishments, the strength, and the paths that you took going forward because of the experience. Honor yourself for your courage, your vulnerably, your survival.
It is only when we accept ourselves and are thankful for who we are, and what we have that we can then move into change. We can go forward because we are not tied down or held back.
Compassion is a human emotional experience, and it is the force that drives and connects all things in the universe. It is the understanding of the ultimate connection, that we are not separate from each other or anything else.
At face value it may be difficult to see this; especially in reference to someone that has hurt you or has hurt others in sometimes the most heinous and unimaginable ways. Although compassion does not condone the behavior, there is a much deeper understanding into the behavior and what drove someone to be like that.
Take the Lioness and the Antelope
When we watch the lioness running after the baby antelope, we feel for the antelope, fear for its life, and perhaps want to save it. It speaks to our concept of predator- prey, perpetrator – victim.
Which animal do you have compassion for?
We then see that the lioness has tried and has not succeeded, and she goes home empty handed to a hungry pride of lions and cubs. She is tired, thin and has not eaten for a week.
Which animal do you have compassion for?
It is both at different times from different perspectives. Compassion sees all of that at once, and understands the deeper meanings of the actions, without judgment.
Forgiveness starts within our hearts, we accept, we are thankful, and we have compassion for ourselves.
So, what is it that we are really forgiving? What is it that we are completely giving?
We ‘completely give’… Love!
The most important person to love is yourself; the rest comes naturally.
It is here, in LOVE that we find we have compassion for others. And sometimes the act of forgiveness falls away with the understanding; and then we see within the vast space of interconnectedness, perhaps there is really nothing to forgive, because there is only love.