Saturday, March 01, 2008

Forgiveness (Response to a Question About Identifying It)

When we have been deeply hurt, we don't tend to ever forget, but we can forgive those who have harmed us. In fact, for our own benefit we must find a way.
I suspect you have still not forgiven them. When we can look beyond the pain they have caused us and see that they deserve pity more than anger, we can move on knowing that they have harmed themselves more than us. We will also come to the realization that our anger is hurting us more than the original wound. The wound can heal, but the aggravation caused by the constant blaming and anger are keeping the wound open and even causing an infection that could well destroy any hope for our happiness in this life time. It is impossible to move on while clinging to the hurts of the past.

An in depth analysis of why you are hurt and angry can give you a starting place to begin the healing process. These need to be "I feel" statements, not "you made me" statements. If you find yourself becoming defensive, you can be sure you have not forgiven. The blame game was invented to protect us from taking responsibility for our own actions.Unfortunately it also protects us from healing and moving on in life. Nothing happens in a vacuum. We need to accept that it takes two to make or break a relationship and if it is broken we must accept some of the responsibility, even if it is only that we failed to read the signs until it is too late.

When we get to a point that we can look at the person who hurt us with compassion and not blame or resentment, we are in danger of internalizing the blame and in effect, absolving the other person...with statements like "I should have seen it coming. I should have tried harder. I should never have trusted." and so on. Notice that these are "I" messages, but they are negative messages. Try "I did the best I could. I should learn from the experience and take that knowledge with me into any new relationship." Since we are human we all make mistakes, we just need to try to not make the same ones over again. In order to do this, it is necessary to reach beyond the ego and forgive it as a parent would a child.

When dealing with the emotions of the ego, meditation is a way of going beyond the ego and seeing ourselves as the spiritual beings we are. When trying to understand and rise above some negative emotions the problem can be taken into meditation and a solution is often found there. You might try a "Why am I ...." meditation in which you could start by asking yourself why you are angry and waiting patiently for an answer to form in your mind. When it done, it will probably not be the true root of the problem right away. If you know this to be true, you can dismiss the answer you have found and again ask yourself why you are .... whatever the first answer was. This method can scare up some surprising answers and help us farther along our path. You might even try free association with pencil and paper. Again, much can be learned from keeping an honest journal. It need not be written in every day, but record the circumstances when an event or emotion arises.

So much of what we learn is intuitive and not easily translated into words. It would be wonderful to sit down over coffee and engage in true one on one conversation, but c'est la vie. It would also help if we could develop a shared vocabulary between man and woman in order to share our feelings and be met with understanding. We will try to work on that one.


Liara Covert said...

It can be incredibly enlightening to realize the power of your words. People do not always realize what they are saying aloud or to themselves or the long-term effects words have on self-image and self-worth. To discern why we say what we do is a step to move forward along our own healing process.

Zareba said...

Very true, Liara. Words have a powerful effect on both the speaker and the listener. It would be a vast improvement if we "put our brains in gear before engaging the mouth." ☺

I have often promoted the idea of writing one's argument so the issue is not clouded by anger, which always masks a true emotion. The writing often clarifies the issue and avoids the hurtful things we say when we are hurt and masking it with anger.

Many years ago, I took a short course on using Play Therapy with children as well as communicating in the way of not verbally attacking the child, isolating the problem and identifying the owner of the problem then finding a solution that is beneficial to all.
A very interesting and enlightening experience.

jim said...

I think that the blame game is the cornerstone of this whole false world, it is constructed on blaming others and avenging oneself on them, it fakes forgiveness with payoffs like from insurance companies, and we wonder why we grow up without the ability to rule ourselves.

You give good advice Zareba, people need it, people suffer greatly from the not-knowing and the confusions that prevent knowing. Clarification is essential.

Zareba said...

Thank you, Jim.