Just let go.
Why is this the wrong advice to give people who feel hurt, angry, betrayed? Why when a massive INJUSTICE has been served to us are we led to believe the step to freedom is for us to FORGIVE the person who hurt, betrayed or robbed us of something important when this is not even an action… This might sound like contradictory advice, because every religion tells us to forgive one another… and I want to support that, while I explain.
People say ‘forgive’ as if it is a verb. Like you can just ‘switch off’ the powerful and painful emotions, deny them, and give the offender a hall pass. This somehow is pitched as you being the BIGGER PERSON… but we don’t choose our emotions. We have very limited and delayed control over how we feel, and repressing and denying our feelings is shown to lead to depression. Emotions need to be understood, acknowledged, expressed and experienced. That’s a healthy process, and Emotional Intelligence is the field that teaches us HOW to experience and express our emotions in healthy, constructive ways.
I want to explain why this advice of FORGIVENESS is so BACKWARDS.
Would you polish your car when it was dented and dirty?
Would you put away your dirty clothes without washing them?
So telling someone to forgive, is like stabbing them in the stomach, leaving the knife in there, then asking them to give you a hug.
Forgiveness isn’t an ACTION.
It’s not a doing-word. Forgiveness is a result. It is the natural result of working through a situation or event at a somatic, emotional and mental level where the result is a:
You cannot release someone until you are yourself free.
When you repair and wash the car, you can polish it.
When you wash and dry the clothes, you can pack them away.
There are internal steps involved which are necessary to reach a point of forgiveness, and NO ONE teaches us these steps.
Polish your car and the paint will look good.
Put your clothes away and your house will be tidy.
Giving someone instruction number 4 without instructions 1, 2, and 3 is CONFUSING.
Maybe you’ve wondered why you should forgive someone when what they did is UNACCEPTABLE and WRONG.
You have every right to feel validated for your suffering and loss… YOU MATTER TOO. Your feelings matter.
I know you do, because no one wants to walk through life experiencing negative emotions… No on wants to feel the weight of harbouring resentment, and the ultimate goal of forgiveness is to be completely free… to have let go, put it behind, and moved forward.
And the thing is, that burden, is not conscious. It is trapped in your unconscious mind which runs your body. Trapped in your memory, on your desktop, not filed into long term memory, and your unconscious mind and your body actually thinks it’s happening now. That’s why you can’t really forgive. That’s why it’s the wrong advice. Because as far as your unconscious mind goes, it’s still happening! It hasn’t been put into the past… not properly. If you can’t forgive, it means there is a part of you, a version of you which is still stuck back in the event, in the emotion.
I call this an ‘emotional hook’ – because you are literally ‘stuck in the past’.
Do these steps as many times as you need. Use your imagination. Re-construct painful past events so they can be filed off.
Once the emotional charge has been released from past events, forgiveness will just be there.
You won’t have to ‘do’ anything or force anything. The person you were wronged by will no longer be impactful to you. You may even find you have pity, understanding or compassion for them.
That’s the beauty of forgiveness. It frees you, and it frees them… and I know I don’t want to be carrying ‘emotional binds’ to other people… so I do the work on my self and in myself to ensure there is no resentment in me
… because as they say ‘anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die’.