What IS forgiveness anyway?
People are confused. I was confused.
“Forgive your father. Forgive the terrorists. Forgive your ex.” Those are nice thoughts. I want to do it. But when I try, I realize I do not really know HOW. And the reason I do not know how to forgive is that I do not really understand what forgiveness is.
Forgiveness has less to do with letting someone off the hook for what they have done, and more to do with LOVING yourself and yes – them. Forgiveness is a transformative action. Forgiveness heals. It changes a YOU and the person who done you wrong. Forgiveness is the most masterful thing a human being can do within relationship.
Forgiveness is the act of applying love to a person who has lost his or her alignment with Love.
Forgiving Someone You Like: Loving someone you like is easy. They may have a fault or two that irk you. They may make mistakes sometimes, but it feels comfortable to give them leeway. “He had good intentions. He was trying to do the right thing. We all miss the mark sometimes. I can move past this. I know he’s basically a good person.”
Forgiving Someone You Don’t Like: This is harder. The person may have abused you. They may have seemed to do it on purpose. It might have been heinous. It doesn’t feel comfortable to let them get away with it. Forgiving someone who has hurt us is more complex because it’s actually a four step process instead of just one, like the example above. Rushing into soft feelings and too-loose boundaries prematurely isn’t healthy. We have to take a vital preliminary step before we forgive: we have to protect ourselves.
Steps for forgiving someone who has hurt you:
1) Understand your feelings. When someone behaves in a way that causes you physical or emotional harm, you may find yourself vacillating back and forth between feeling defeated and feeling enraged. These are two sides of the same coin and are symptoms of experiencing a lack of control. Defeat is a symptom of feeling powerless and victimized. Anger is a symptom of feeling wronged and disrespected. Both are useful signposts to guide you in your next right actions.
2) Set a boundary. Both defeat and anger are emotions that signal a need for boundary-setting. Do not allow yourself to be abused, victimized or betrayed again. Use your anger to set the boundary, and then become willing to let go of the anger once it’s performed its job. Become ready to move past anger to something else.
3) See the perpetrator for what he is. Once you have set your boundaries and are safe, it’s ok to move on to the next step – seeing the abuser truly. Visualize the person who hurt you. Picture him or her as a small, lonely, wounded child. Say these words in your heart, “You behaved very badly. Your actions hurt me. What you did is not OK, and I will not allow you to do it to me again. But I know you did this out of a wound. I sense that you are lost, broken, and hurting inside, otherwise you would not have hurt me the way you did.”
4) Administer Love. Say inside your heart, “Instead of punishing you, I give you love.” Seeing the perpetrator as a hurting person ignites empathy. It’s harder to hate someone when we feel empathy toward them. Administering love to the other person is transformative. It will shift you, and it will shift them in ways they may not consciously realize for some time.
The majority of humanity today is still living in the consciousness of 3D. Most still allow themselves to stew in third chakra lessons. “He hurt me, so I want him to hurt too!” “I hate her for what she did to me!” “I was betrayed because I’m not lovable.” “I’ll never be able to make myself safe.” Third chakra lessons and scenarios are fertile ground for learning self-preservation and learning to keep appropriate boundaries between yourself and others. However, reactions at the 3D level will never bring you real peace. Only moving into the wisdom of the heart can do that.
Forgiveness is a 4D Transformational Technology.
4D corresponds to the fourth chakra, or “heart” chakra. The lessons of the heart chakra are all about loving oneself and loving another equally. It’s all about mastering forgiveness. The trick is – we have to master our developmental milestones IN ORDER. First we have to really learn how to love our self, protect our self, and to set boundaries (third chakra issues). Only after we have true balance and safety can we move on and really learn about Unconditional Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness (fourth chakra issues).
Then total acceptance of what is.
This is peace.
The final mastery of fourth chakra forgiveness is a realization that our perpetrator is just like our self. We realize we have the same potential for acting out of our pain as the next guy. In fact, we come to realize that our abuser is our mirror. If we’ve got someone showing up in our life who is behaving in a way that hurts us, it’s a sure sign that something is still unhealed inside our SELF. We realize that self-forgiveness and other-forgiveness are the same thing. The path of Love is the way to heal all the world of it’s distress.To forgive is to LOVE. Love as an act of healing. Love as an act of transmutation. Let your love change the situation. Let your love ease your heart, and theirs.
“Think of the life of the great Master Jesus… One sees that from beginning to end there was nothing but love and forgiveness. Those who came with their wrongs and imperfections before the love – it was all forgiven. There was always a stream of love which purified it all.”
~ Hazrat Inayat Khan, Sufi Master
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