Wounding others and being wounded are tragic and traumatic events in our life. And when we are experience such afflictions they take on many profound meanings and leave significant imprints on our life. When after we realize any such affliction we happen to receive, afflict upon another, or even upon ourselves, we are now left with the journey of how do we cope and heal from this? I understand we all have different responses to pain; that being emotional, psychological or physical. We all respond in a way to either avoid it, move away from it, medicate it or try to eliminate it. And the presence of pain creates many other emotional – behavioral responses; we try and take refuge in taking on control of our situation/life. Or we lash out in hot anger. Anger is common weapon exercise our control over situations so that we will not experience or keep experiencing pain or threat of pain. Unfortunately, we run into problems here, especially when our lashing out is inflicting pain on others. This becomes a vicious cycle. So what is the path of healing? The desired outcome we all might agree upon is that whatever happened to us or what we have done to others, is we can find peace and resolve. As I always say, “to live well in your own skin”. After we get through our initial acceptance of what has occurred and what we feel, we have to ask ourselves, what is it we are willing to hold onto or let go? What do we do with the one that hurt us or what we do with ourselves for what we have committed? How do we forgive?
Here is a navigation for the path of forgiveness:
- Why Forgiveness. This can be whole article by itself. But to be very succinct here I will identify several points in the purpose for forgiveness. Research and physiological science report that hanging onto anger, which is stressful, and negative feelings has a direct cause to high blood pressure, immune failure, followed by sickness, heart issues, and pain issues. Second, holding onto pain/negative feelings about another, creates a defeated sense of self or victim mentality. This proposes that life if unsafe and you may only fine yourself acting it out later. Holding onto hurt can only carry forward into other relationships. Third, Unforgiveness perpetuates unwanted outcomes. Let me elaborate, anger begets anger; sadness begets sadness; painful people become painful to others. Why, “ Love your enemy?”. If you never love your enemy, you risk the chance of becoming like your enemy. What you hold onto , you take on high probability of becoming it. Whoever you hate on you will become. Not forgiving, also keeps one attached to the other being in a manner of unwanted power. Therefore, to pursue forgiveness helps improve mental health, physical health, relationship patterns and psychological freedom.
- Seek reasoning. Initial questions to try an ask, why did the or would they do this? Intentional? Did they have a perception that challenge their judgement? Were they scared, angry or hurt as well? Were they taught to do this behavior? IS there a miscommunication?
- After we learn of what was motivating ones behavior, it wont take long for you to see that somewhere in their thinking and behaving is brokenness in that individual. We are all in a lack in regards handling life and people. Allowing a sense of compassion to exist in you for that person, starts the urge forward and toward that individual. They did this from their own pain.
- How important is it to hold onto this hurt, anger, guilt, shame, disappointment? We get to decide if there is any real value in holding onto our wounds or keeping them fresh and deep. Would it be better to find a way to let go of the act? And when I say “let go”, meaning to not hold it against the other person. And better to understand the other. If decide to “let it go” then we can start talking to ourselves in the language , “ I release them of the offense, I am ok even though the behavior isn’t ok”. Forgiveness is a continual decision of changing our mind and heart about another person or self.
- The last step. Make them better. Forgiving others, and oneself, you are in the action step of making them become better. Forgiveness is our offering of life to someone so they may become a better person. And further, forgiveness, allows you to be a person free and powerful.
What Forgiveness is NOT:
1 Forgiveness is not condoning bad / evil behavior
2 Forgiveness is not to be confused as a feeling. Don’t wait to feel it.
3 Forgiveness is not forgetting; you will not forget
4 Forgiveness is not merely saying the words “ I forgive you”
5 Forgiveness is not always in an instant; it can be a continual practice of changing your mind and heart about another.