September 4, 2008
This particular write serves better as a continuation from the previous read on Trust and Faith Misunderstood.
With the amount of mistakes I constantly made, I know I had many opportunities to understand trust and forgiveness through the pain, frustration and guilt in my life. At this point today, I believe in this quote: ‘If you haven’t made any mistakes, you haven’t taken enough risks.’ And I would have learned nothing.
It’s from these many learning opportunities I realized that if we have to forgive someone or carry a grudge, it is we who carry the emotional baggage and not them. When we truly forgive someone, it is we who feel really light hearted. They on the other hand have the choice to care less or help us heal. And as painful and heavy this is, there are ways to feel lighter without having to deal with the person or system we believe created this painful situation. Life teaches us lessons in unexpected ways and sadly this is one of them. If you are at this juncture, its also quite clear that the concepts of trust and faith have been misunderstood leading to this hurtful emotion.
~Crossing a boundary?~
While somewhere we believe that some of our limits/boundaries have been crossed, some of us still keep the courage to do the right thing. In this article I will try to logically present the answer you are looking for with the best possible forms of reason. The concept of forgiveness is something that even people with healthy self esteem tend to confuse and struggle over. Bear with me as I demonstrate the ‘act of being unforgiving towards others’ is really an illusion and were are truly unforgiving of ourselves instead. It is then not ‘our’ boundary wall that they cross but it is the boundary wall we put around them that they cross. I will start with the basics of choice as the fundamentals to this understanding.
PS. I will not attempt to justify any form of forgiveness towards physical abuse at this time. But for those desperately seeking answers here, please read up on Past Life Karmas and Life Path to understand the holistic purpose of this act
We all make choices. Some of us know the outcome and hence make informed choices. Some, on the other hand (mostly wishful thinkers), make choices with the expectation of a positive outcome, ignoring the other hurtful possibilities. The more experienced on the other hand makes a conscious choice after accepting the possibility of a bad outcome while hoping for the good. These are common in the stock market where a sensible investor takes a loss in the same spirit as he would take a profit. With every choice comes emotional responsibility for its outcome no matter how bad or good it maybe.
We also expect others to respect our good and bad choices just as we respect theirs; especially their bad ones. A parent disapproving their daughter’s choices of a boyfriend in a dating scene usually results in the daughter being upset over it. She expects her parents to respect her choices just as she respects theirs. She expects that they trust her with the knowledge they themselves educated her with. Without mutual respect there is no healthy relationship.
In this personal journey of self discovery, everyone has the freedom to make mistakes, take responsibility and learn from it. The fear of the inability to cope is the only reason why we cannot accept a bad outcome. If we cannot accept the bad outcomes of our own choices, we can never accept the bad outcome of other’s choices either. In other words, if we cannot respect ourselves and our choices, we cannot respect others and theirs.
~Forgiving others Or forgiving self?~
Usually when we are unforgiving of others, we are unforgiving of the choice they made. But, if somewhere in the back of our minds it clicks that those choices made by them should be respected as much as we’d expect them to respect our good and bad choices, only then will we understand that forgiving others is an illusion and that we are really trying to forgive ourselves for being ignorant of this concept (that we respect others for their choices good and bad as well, just as we expect them to respect ours). Forgiveness is a result of a misconception of trust.
~But what is this painful feeling inside us when someone does something hurtful?~
This painful feeling is the dependence on that person or system for love, attention and fulfilling our expectations . Had we been strong enough to love ourselves instead, fulfill our own needs and give ourselves the attention we deserve, this need or dependence on others would disappear. We would then look at this whole situation very differently. We would see that this person is only making choices that he or she needs while in the process of self discovery. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with only them. When we accept that, we unconditionally love and accept ourselves and unconditionally love and accept them. That’s true love.
However, many of us live outside this reality and play a painful game of master and slave where the slave seeks forgiveness from the master. One needs to remember that a master can control the slave as much as the slave allows the master to control him. The only next step to freedom is self empowerment and that comes with understanding the power of choice. The habit of being unforgiving is a global epidemic and only through the understanding of choice can we be free of the burden we carry.
~Forgiveness in my relationship~
In my personal life a few years ago, I asked for forgiveness from two women I hurt through the choices I made. One of them said, “I will never forgive you for what you did to me,” and the other said “you are forgiven, I love you for who you are irrespective of your choices”. During that time I suffered low self esteem and the source of happiness in my life was the woman who did not forgive me. I never knew how to find happiness within myself and suffered a slave relationship trying to please her. As I grew stronger emotionally and built a healthy self esteem, I realized that I did not need others to forgive me for my choices. My choices were intended to make me happy. If I cannot be happy, I cannot make others happy and hence only through selfishness can come true authentic selflessness. If others cannot understand and respect this, it’s their inability to cope and not mine. I will make others happy only when I find happiness within myself. During that phase, I needed to forgive myself for the bad outcomes of my choices and learn to love myself unconditionally.
The power of forgiveness works at all times and for everyone. Forgive yourself, love yourself unconditionally, and help others heal just as you would heal yourself.
I would recommend two reads that really help.
The Transformative Power of Crisis
Love & Best Wishes!
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