I received a call this morning from a former lover. His immediate words were a forceful, “Are you ready to forgive?” Apparently, his version of ‘forgiveness’ means giving him another opportunity to repeat the experience and relearn the lesson. THAT is not forgiveness. THAT will not actually serve anyone! Forgiveness is as much or more for the individual doing the forgiving than it is for the one receiving the forgiveness. True forgiveness cannot occur while the pain, grief, resentment or anger attached to that person or experience is still being held in the body…including one's anger toward one’s self for allowing that pain/abuse/betrayal etc to happen. These powerful emotions MUST be experienced, fully expressed and released from the body (this can be done in a healthy way that harms no-one) before the forgiveness can be experienced. When we truly forgive, it frees us! Forgiving someone does not automatically mean that we allow that person back into our lives in the same capacity they were before, or even at all. Sometimes it better serves both parties in learning the lessons they are meant to learn, for the relationship to be ended and even no contact at all. This boundary DOES NOT demonstrate a lack of forgiveness, but rather a determination to hold the space of honouring all parties involved, in the space they are in, including one’s self. We cannot change the way another is choosing to show up in life no matter how many times we choose to forgive them. Allowing them to repeatedly create harm and pain in your life will actually delay their life lessons and enable their dysfunctional behaviour. Accusations from such people that you should or must forgive them and that forgiving means letting them back in to your space of vulnerability is just a form of manipulation and even coercion. In the case of someone who truly does desire forgiveness, then a change in the way they have shown up for you MUST be a part of that. Forgiving them does NOT mean trust is immediately reinstated. Trust MUST be rebuilt by the person who did the harm/created the pain. Any demand that trust be given as proof of forgiveness is AGAIN just manipulation/coercion. Forgiveness does not equal trust…that is not wisdom.
True forgiveness is something that must be a part of any meaningful relationship. Those who love deeply also forgive much and, when the other person truly desires to mend the hurt they have created, own their part in it and rebuild trust, it creates a synergy where it is possible to come through the experience stronger and more deeply connected than before. Without these conditions being met, the trust cannot be rebuilt and the cycle of trauma and co-dependency will continue until a boundary is set and maintained. Again, this pattern of allowing repeated ‘lessons’ serves no-one.
I am here in service to humanity with the powerful healing work I am engaged fully in. To do this work effectively, I MUST be fully in my power, which INCLUDES forgiveness of myself AND others. It does NOT mean being in servitude or subjugation to anyone…not in my partnerships, not to my lovers, not to my clients! If the value of what I am bringing to the relationship is not seen and honoured in any relationship, I will step away from it as the other person will not actually receive the full value being given when they are not open to it. I can give and give and give some more, and it will not be received. This is the meaning of ‘casting pearls before swine’. They are not ready to receive, or even able to recognize the precious gifts being held before them. Forgiveness is my gift to myself, not a weakness to be exploited!