How to Achieve Forgiveness

Tiers of Forgiveness

tiers of forgiveness

Forgiveness has been difficult for me. For most of my life, I have blamed others for my woes – my parents, my husband… I had no softness in my heart for the wrongs I felt I had endured at the hands of others. How, then, have I come to forgiveness?

About two years into sobriety, I was contemplating my past relationships with men, what my part was in their failure. I realized I would get drunk and yell at them that they were worthless and a failure. I was horrified to remember this. I didn’t mean those things! I actually was feeling those things about myself and was projecting my pain on the other person.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that if I didn’t mean those things when I said them, if I said them because I was wounded, then perhaps others didn’t mean it when they said that to me. Perhaps they, also, were wounded and projecting their pain.

This stopped me in my tracks. In an instant, I was able to see that people I was blaming were nothing more then human beings, like myself, living with wounds and pains. I began to develop compassion for them. This began the first level of my forgiveness, the first “tier.”

Since that time, my heart has softened even more toward those I felt have done me wrong and I have been able to reach another tier of forgiveness. It has been a very freeing experience and has lightened my heart tremendously. I have a new level of relationship with those I have forgiven, which is a new experience I am enjoying.

The final tier to reach is the forgiveness of myself. This has been harder and my work with it continues. I am able to see myself as a human being with my own foibles and failings. This has led me to compassion for myself, as well as for others.

The widening circle continues… the more I accept my humanness, the more compassion I feel for myself and others; the more compassion I feel for others, the more I can forgive.

How do you experience forgiveness? Is it something with which you struggle?

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