Forgiveness of Others

Tiers of Forgiveness

Good morning. I hope the day is dawning brightly for you, wherever that might be.

I saw a twitter post this morning from someone who said they did not have the guts to forgive someone. It prompted me to tweet and let them know of my forgiveness article that they can receive if they opt-in to my site. Having tweeted about that, I was led to thoughts about forgiveness.

The thing about forgiveness is we always do it for ourselves, never the other person. Nelson Mandella said once that resentment is like drinking poison thinking it will kill your enemy. Truer words could not be spoken. Your enemy usually has no clue you are resentful, and it is you who is tied up in knots over some issue.

That’s why you never forgive for the other person; you forgive for yourself, to clear the chains that bind your heart. By offering forgiveness, you are not saying you condone what was done, not in any way. The event(s) that happened were wrong, you were wronged, and it will always be a part of who you are.

But there is a way to look at a situation that takes the sting out, that allows you to find forgiveness.  It is a process. This process of forgiveness takes place over time, in tiers, of you will.

I experienced physical, verbal, and emotional trauma in my early years, and I grew up angry/livid and bitter about it. I refused to even consider forgiveness; I lived my life as a victim, filled with self-pity. To numb the sting of my feelings, I drank for 26 years. When I finally was an absolute emotional mess, I gave up the fight and became sober.

Through my sobriety, I became, after about two years, to look at forgiving. Actually, this is how it happened…

Soon after I became sober, I was doing a self-appraisal, looking at the relationships I had had with men over the years. What I remembered was getting drunk and yelling at them that they were worthless, would never amount to anything.

I was horrified to recall this, and felt badly that I denigrated their spirit, their soul, in such a way. Then I realized I did not mean that of them; I said it because I was lashing out in desperation with thoughts I had for myself. i.e., I thought I was worthless.

Then a while later, I began to wonder if the person who told me I was worthless actually meant these words about himself, and perhaps he, too, was lashing out at me in desperation. A light bulb went off as I began to consider this. It opened the door ever-so-much to be able to consider this person as a wounded soul.

When I was able to see him in this manner, I felt badly for him because I knew how horrible it felt to feel worthless about myself, and I assumed he felt the same way about himself at the time he said it to me. I began to have compassion for this wounded soul.

Over time, I was able to see his behaviors and treatment of me as merely an expression of how badly he felt about himself. Over a period of a couple of years, I was able to offer forgiveness to him.

This is how forgiveness came about for me. For you, I invite you to consider the following as a method of forgiveness:

  • consider whether you have ever done the same thing that was done to you that you cannot forgive for;
  • if you have, own your behavior, An apology may be in order;
  • if you haven’t, then look at the other person as a wounded person, unable to help themselves for what they did;
  • have compassion for this wounded individual, knowing how fallible and fragile they were;
  • allow the chains that bind your heart to slip away over time, as you continue to apply more compassion for a fellow human who is themselves scarred.

Try this out and let me know if you were able to find forgiveness by leaving a comment.

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