Forgiveness Explained

Forgiveness.  True forgiveness.  We ended our last blog on this and I felt this needed it’s own section to fully cover what this is about.  The first step is knowing what it is and why it’s important. 

“Psychologists define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve forgiveness” (according to Berkley) 

That was deep.  And feels nearly impossible when you feel hurt or wronged.  Trust me, I know, I’ve been there.  Let me give you old Tanya vs new Tanya examples:  (P.S. these are not necessarily true examples)

Co-worker & dear friend lies about you behind your back to look better:

Old Tanya - seek revenge, call them and give a piece of mind, think about all the things I could tell everyone and then replay it over and over.  New Tanya - pray for the co-worker, forgive the co-worker, learn from my lesson, and move on. 

Husband lies about where he is going:

Old Tanya - silent treatment for days, slam shit around the house while cleaning to make sure he knows I’m mad, give attitude, throw it in his face a year later.  New Tanya - needs a little space to gather thoughts, holds a no judgement conversation, allows my husband to say why honestly without responding negatively, offers forgiveness, prays for him and moves on.

*Not into praying? Meditate, talk it out with a trusted person, or journal it.  Speaking it whether in prayer or in person or writing it out releases it from your brain.

See how different these two Tanya’s are?  Honestly I don’t ever want to go back to the old me.  It was exhausting.  Holding onto the wrong doings of others while holding onto mine took up more brain space than I could manage.  You see, I am not in control of others actions.  I cannot worry about things I cannot control.  The past is something we cannot control.  I no longer hold onto that ish in my brain.  I did it with forgiveness. 

If your having difficulty with this, you need this next step.  Addressing your own inner pain.  Why did that action or word hurt you like it did?  It is past abuse you have yet to heal from?  Is it low self esteem and you need help finding a love for yourself that maybe you have never had?  We often let our unaddressed hurts from the past make smaller offenses today larger than they need to be.  Example - I was physically abused in a past relationship.  My husband says a little comment the way my ex used to and I lose it on my him and accuse him of being best friends with my ex (I’m exaggerating here lol) See how a small offense could turn into a large offense because of past hurt?

Now can you understand that when we carry pain and wounds that we haven’t addressed it’s harder to even imagine forgiveness.  It keeps this door open “why should I forgive when I feel this pain from the past”.  Close those doors.  Talk to someone, write it down on paper and burn it, write it on a plate and then break it.  Release it and close the door.  For real real.  Think of the scene from Monsters Inc where they close it and then put it in the shredder.  Shred it. 

Ok now the HARDEST part of forgiveness for me is….. forgiving myself.  I was and still struggle sometimes with replaying my wrong doings over and over again in my head.  I’ve gotten much better at shifting my thought process when I start thinking of events that I have forgiven.  Keep in mind, forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting.    We sometimes have a hard time forgiving others because we cannot forgive ourselves.  I am here to tell you today that you too deserve forgiveness for your sins, actions, offenses, whatever you call it.  Just ask for it.  

What forgiveness is NOT…

It is not forgetting.  The pain you feel is real.  The hurt you feel is real.  You won’t be able to erase it. 

It is not condoning.  The offense was wrong.  Forgiving releases you from future bitterness.

It does not mean trust and reconciliation.  I’ve forgiven my coworker for spreading hateful things about me but I did not reconcile the old friendship.  I moved on.

It is not instant healing.  Healing is a journey and takes time.  Forgiveness is a necessary step to healing

It is not a feeling.  We don’t forgive when we feel like it. Waiting until we feel like it allows revenge and anger to grow and takes up mental space that is not necessary.  

For me, forgiveness is no longer optional.  I am happier and in a much better mental state because of forgiveness.  I am in better relationships with people I have forgave.  I also don’t speak to many I have forgave and I am OK with that.  Forgiveness allowed me to release negative thoughts and make room for creativity and love and I’m not ever going back.