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Thursday October 7, 2004: Forgiving

        To err is human...to forgive, divine. Brother, I see this played out with the most unusual interpretations. Some people see it as a sign of their own big heart that they are able to forgive someone who has wronged them. I mean, obviously the 'enemy' is still wrong, but see how gracious the forgiver is, overlooking the past and extending good will.  And all this in spite of the wrong doer's refusal to accept responsibility for what was done.

        Let's get past that right now. Forgiving is something you do for yourself. The person or situation that has harmed you will rarely come to their senses and acknowledge any wrong doing. Either they are oblivious to the fact someone was harmed or they can justify their actions. If your feelings were hurt, if your life was damaged, that is more your problem than theirs. In most cases, waiting for someone to 'make it up to you' will be a long, long wait.  You are the one who suffers during that waiting period.

       Forgive then, because your life is too valuable to be wasted with pain and bitterness.  Forgiving is not a condoning of past behavior but a chance to release your own suffering, to allow healing, and to move towards a better future.  No matter how deeply you bury your grudges, no matter how seldom the issue of old resentments comes up, whenever negative emotions are not released they will stand as barriers to deeper levels of peace and harmony.

      The healing process, for me, always begins with acknowledging the hurt.  That may sound obvious, but the natural tendency is to hold the negative feelings inside and focus on the pain, anger, or rejection.  I have watched inwardly as many people talk about the way something or someone 'hurt' them. It's almost always surrounded by defense systems that have sprung up as a protection for not feeling loved, appreciated, or valued.  As the memory bounces up against these defenses, the hurt is reactivated.

      I'm not asking that you look at how you were hurt. Instead one should focus on the vulnerable part that was hurt. This is the part that is childlike in its need to be loved and cherished and cared for. It is usually ignored as people focus on the outer events or situations or relationships which created hurt. Yet it's this inner child that needs healing so its defense systems can come down.

        Understand right now that no other person will ever be able to provide all your emotional needs in the exact manner you need it presented. There is no perfect parent, or partner, or boss. Face it, if someone had perfectly met all your emotional needs, you would have grown up emotionally crippled. Life is about finding strength within yourself to cope with outer reality. 

      That is a wonderful thing. Yes, the inner child is going to be disappointed or hurt from time to time, but you are in the world's best position to help. Who else knows exactly what kind of support and understanding is needed to heal the deepest wounds?  Who else will be there 24 hours a day? Other people can give tremendous support but you must bring the wounds up to the surface. You must do the actual healing.

      Love and nurture the vulnerable part inside. Let it honestly feel what it feels and comfort it the way you would comfort a child who climbed up in your lap crying over a popped balloon or a skinned knee or the death of the family pet. I am not being facetious or trying to minimize the seriousness of the hurt. I am saying this vulnerable part feels the hurt no matter how big or small. Accepting that the hurt is there and sending love to those feelings can release a good deal of suffering. 

Posted on Thursday, October 7, 2004 at 05:06AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | CommentsPost a Comment

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