Why do you suppose many people struggle with the concept of forgiveness? I think it is because our view of forgiveness is distorted from what is intended to be. I went to Webster.com and looked up the definition for forgiveness. I’ll start with the synonyms of forgiveness; they are absolution, amnesty, pardon, remission and remittal. The antonyms are penalty, punishment and retribution.
So, if you commit a crime and are punished for it then there is no forgiveness, unless, perhaps you are pardoned by the judge or governor for your crimes. So basically to forgive is to pardon and remove responsibility of someone’s actions from them. Well, I’m not talking about being forgiven from a crime or payment of a debt. I’m talking about forgiving emotional pain. I often hear people say, when referring to someone who hurt them, “there is no forgiveness for what they did!” We get so trapped into our “woundology” that we hold on to the pain and resentment. We must have someone to blame for hurting us. We bond with our wounds and to give that up is shattering to most people. Resentment just happens to be the exact opposite of forgiveness.
Forgiveness of an emotional wound is about cutting the cords that are attached to your pain. When we forgive we are freeing ourselves from resentment, anger and hostility towards another person. According to Caroline Myss, author of ‘Why People Don’t Heal,’ “forgiveness is the most powerful thing you can do for your biology. We aren’t designed to age. We are meant to mature, but not to age. Aging is the consequence of letting your spirit be distributed in the past and not picking up the pieces because you want to take the past with you. You keep your spirit in the past when you’re unable to forgive and when you aren’t able to let go of something when time has come to let go.”
Emotions that are stuffed, numbed out by drugs, alcohol or food, aren’t allowed to surface and be experienced. The wound that caused the negative feelings isn’t healed and forgiveness hasn’t been applied. Why? I guess because people perceive it’s too painful. What is painful is never addressing the wound and allowing it to turn into physical illness. Yes, I said physical illness. Old wounds that have not been addressed and forgiven cause things like cancer, auto-immune disorders like lupus and fibromyalgia, heart problems and many more.
I’m reading another book by Karol K. Truman called ‘Feelings Buried Alive Never Die.’ In this book she discusses the physical dis-ease caused by emotions. For example, in 2006 I had surgery to remove endometriosis. The emotional causes of endometriosis are: deep-seeded unresolved sadness going unanswered, feelings of frustration, feelings of insecurity, lack of self-love, wanting to blame problems on others, lacking in understanding of self and dwelling in old limiting concepts. Wow! I was swimming in ALL of it!
For me that surgery was probably a catalyst to begin healing these old wounds. In the past five years I’ve done a lot of work on myself in an effort to heal my emotions. One of the biggest and best things I have done for myself is to learn how to forgive. I cut these old cords of resentment and allowed them to quit being a burden on me. I didn’t simply say “I forgive you.” I have done body work and a lot of emotional healing work. I learned to allow myself to bask in anger, to feel it and then release it. I find it ironic that I spent so many years hanging on to my old wounds. It was very painful and I suffered! It affected my relationships, belief in myself, my ability to attract more money into my life and took a toll on my physical body.
Allowing myself to feel hurts like hell in the moment, but as I allow myself to move through it and then release and let go of it, I am amazed at how liberated I feel. I also learned how to forgive. I didn’t pat the person or people who hurt me on the head and say “It’s ok. What you did to me is ok.” I didn’t even have a conversation with them. It was between me and their higher self. I left behind the language of blame, guilt, weakness and excuse. I no longer had the urge to damn the person to hell for hurting me. I recognize that the people who hurt me had a sacred contract to do so. Knowing how much pain I was in, I can’t imagine how painful it was for them to fulfill the contract and hurt me the way that they did. Not only did I learn forgiveness, I learned compassion and empathy too.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this work is a never-ending process. There is always something new that comes up. I’m not perfect at it and sometimes I need someone else to facilitate me. It has also led me to helping other people to heal. My mess became my message and by learning to forgive I learned how to help others through it too.
Where has forgiveness benefitted you or do you still have some forgiving to do? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you for reading and learning and growing.