I have struggled with the expectation of forgiveness for a very long time. The movement of the perception that ‘if you forgive, you will find peace’ just didn’t resonate with me; there seemed to be a missing piece in the equation. I wondered how I could forgive someone who wasn’t open to being forgiven. How could I offer forgiveness to those who didn’t ask for forgiveness or even want to be forgiven? What was the point of forgiving others if they continue to show up in a way that hurts me?
Merrian-Webster Dictionary’s definition of Forgiveness is as follows:
: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong)
: to stop blaming (someone)
: to stop feeling anger about (something)
: to forgive someone for (something wrong)
: to stop requiring payment of (money that is owed)
In the past, this definition frustrated me because it seemed to be all about me and what I did to “right the wrong”. I was looking for a who was right or wrong scenario, and it felt like Merrian-Webster wanted me to do all the work and be accountable; my ego didn’t like that at all!! The more I was encouraged to move towards a state of forgiveness, the more I became resilient towards it because I didn’t have clarity about how it would make me feel better. I needed to understand the context surrounding what forgiveness truly encompassed in order to really commit to the act of forgiving those who I felt had hurt or betrayed me.
“It was when I realized that forgiving someone is really
the act of accepting them that I was able to equate
forgiving others with letting go of them and their actions;
allowing them to be who they are,
good or bad and in line with my values or not,
is the start to forgiving them”
Having the mindset that it’s not my job or right to change others, but rather my human ability to honour who they are, has given me the freedom to forgive them by not letting their choices control me. I am the one who is accountable for all that I let into my life. It is when others show up in a way that isn’t consistent with my way of being, that I have the choice to put boundaries around them or their actions in order to protect myself from the energy I don’t want around me. That is empowerment created from letting go or, forgiveness.
It’s actually quite simple;
“If I make choices and show up from a place of love, that is what and who I will choose to allow into my life, those who accept me for who I am
and love me unconditionally.”
It is acceptance, and acceptance allowed me to let go of the binds of resisting forgiveness. I learned that I don’t need to agree with those who think differently from or about me, I just need to accept them with the boundaries that also allow me to accept myself. This is love; love of self and love of others – note the order 🙂
So, in order for me to commit to practicing forgiveness with ease, I gained clarity about how I define it. My definition of forgiveness includes the following process:
- Love – taking the time to step back and choose to show up with love of self and others; moving from a place of love is genuine and kind;
- Acceptance – pushing aside judgement and using compassion to accept self and others; who am I to tell others how to be?
- Honour – honouring who I am and then offering the same to others; we are all deserving;
- Boundaries – using self-protection to keep that which I do not value at a distance; forgiveness does not include self-deception;
- Empowerment – letting go of control and the need to find a ‘right or wrong’ answer;
“Being Authentic includes giving up the need to be right
and the fear of being wrong”
Having the courage to let go is the root of forgiveness.
#love #acceptance #honour #boundaries #empowerment #leadauthentic #daringlymindful