Google+ Badge

Monday, June 15, 2009

Power of Forgiveness

Without forgiveness relationships would not work. As Gandhi said, "In an eye for an eye world, the world would soon be blind." How do people then forgive a betrayal from a friend, a parent, a child, or from our spouse? Karl Loszak, M.D., suggests there are three kinds of forgiveness-- implicit, explicit, and transcendent.

(1) Implicit forgiveness is something that occurs within a person, such as when someone forgives himself or herself for transgressing or when a person forgives aging parents for mistreatment while growing up.

(2) Explicit forgiveness is the kind that takes place between two people in their everyday lives, and it can involve all sorts of nuances—for example, power plays or deal making, such as "If you do so-and-so, I'll forgive you this time."

(3) Transcendent forgiveness, unlike explicit forgiveness, has no strings attached and consists of forgiving devastating acts.

Do people forgive who broke their hearts, who let them down in thousands of tiny and big ways that added up to ruination, or do they risk feeling like bad children all over again and tell those others they simply can’t forgive? Forgiveness is not a singular, staged apology. Because forgiveness isn’t an act of will, it’s a process not an event. Forgiveness is a behavior practiced by learned people over a period of time. In time, forgiveness becomes natural and cathartic as people work toward transcendent levels.

Refusing to forgive is really saying, "Instead of taking some action to improve matters, I prefer to live in the past, and blame somebody (or myself) for it." Not forgiving one's self is a choice to stay on a guilt trip so a person can deliberately go through some extra mental anguish. Some relish the anger as a source of inflicting pain for their own shortcomings. In forgiveness, being able to separate the deed from the person is very important. "You don't forgive the deed; it was done and it was wrong. But you can forgive the person and what made him or her so angry." Events in people's lives shaped them and drove them to the decisions they made. In that manner, everyone falls victim to their past. People commit less than attractive deeds all of the time as human nature. Parents brought children up the best way they knew how. Based on the information they had, and the example that was set for them, they ventured forth into the unknown territories known as "marriage" and "parenthood." To blame them endlessly for a lousy job of being a spouse or being a parent is fruitless and destructive. People may come to understand that even if they had the perfect parent or mate that somehow fought their way back through time and sailed in on angel wings toward them, it would still not be enough. Unfortunately, some people never forgive their transgressors and mess up their lives just to demonstrate to them what a lousy job they have done! Their message is, "It is your fault that I am broke and lonely and unhappy so now you can watch me suffer!" Blaming the weather never helped anybody. The same goes for blaming other people. How miserable to never expect sunshine. These emotions can immobilize people, by making them fixate on the offense and not on the solution. Blaming other people never got anyone anywhere. The moment they stop blaming others, they are in a position to take some action to improve things. Blaming is an excuse to do nothing about reality-an excuse not to take action. The past? The truth is people can do now nothing to change the reality of what has happened; however, things can be done to resolve whatever feelings with which a person is currently dealing. John Doe might say, "I'll forgive you, but I can't forget". John Doe is really saying, "I'll forgive you a little bit, but I want to hang on to some of this stuff just in case it is convenient to remind you about it later on." Real forgiveness is letting go, no reminders attached. Here are some facts about forgiveness: 1. You hurt, but the hurt will not be the final word on the matter. 2. You can choose to continue to remain the victim. Distance through anger is really no distance at all. It's a constant, pain-filled connection. 3. You can choose to let go of some pain, whose time has now past. 4. You can make amends along with an apology to accelerate forgiveness. 5. You can reduce the likelihood of future conflict with people with your willingness to forgive them. 6. You can lift your stressful burdens and increase your own happiness through forgiveness. 7. You can re regulate you limbic systems in healing relationships, slowly laying down new neural wiring in order to have a different response to the same life situation in the future. 8. You can choose not to postpone living and loving again until such time when someone finally takes responsibility for the hurt they've caused and turns around and sees you. 9. You can accept responsibility for your own state of wholeness, which, at the end of the day, any sage will tell you is the quickest way to enlightenment. While people blame God, blame others and blame themselves, they are avoiding the real issue which is to do something about the problem. It is always OUR CHOICE whether we get on with our life and live in the now, or whether we chain ourselves to grudges and upsets of the past.

"Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence." -Sholem Asch

Post a Comment