Sunday, October 19, 2014
I Can’t Force It.
There seems to be a natural process that leads me to forgiveness if I don't get in its way. It can take years, but when I'm wounded, the fastest way I know to genuine forgiveness is to allow the stages of feeling following the wounding to happen. The best way I know to slow down this process is to work at trying to forgive people. If I don't really FEEL the wound, what am I forgiving?
Speaking strictly for me here, your experience may differ, but I think many people want to skip the feelings involved in being injured and jump straight to forgiveness. I don't experience that this works or is possible. I don't think true or genuine forgiveness is an act of choice or will. I think it will come quite naturally in its own time, if I allow the feelings involved to surface, one after another.
If I don't allow those feelings, I can't forgive anyone, including myself, no matter what I say or claim. If I deny the wound or the feelings that came with it and say, "I forgive you.", the wound does not go away, and neither do the feelings. I think going through these feelings is difficult, but for me anyway, it's the only way. Being hurt hurts. The rest is just head-tripping, wishful thinking and New Age bullshit designed to skip things that are not skip-able.
The vast majority of times in my life when I've reached genuine forgiveness, I never had to say so or make a big deal out of it. I just noticed one day that I had forgiven someone some injury. They usually seem to get it too and we naturally move on. This has worked in reverse too. When someone has forgiven me for some injury. It just happens and we both seem to know it.
On the other hand, 9 times out of 10 when someone says they forgive me or someone else, and makes a “special” deal out of it, it doesn’t resonate or feel real to me. They still seem wounded and trying to get out their discomfort by force of will, which I don't think works. Thinking and analyzing the situation can help, but for me at least, the feelings involved must be felt. I can't think or will them away.
Also, people like to condemn and downplay things like "holding on" and "resentment" and I agree to some extent. Those are not always healthy things to do for the body.
But they can also be very helpful "rest stops" along the natural forgiveness path. I will hold on sometimes, when to go further into the feelings would be too painful. Resentment hurts, but sometimes it's a level of pain that I can handle when going deeper would hurt too much for me. When I can handle more feeling or when enough feeling has trickled through my resentment, I can then go deeper into the process. Holding on can be like a pressure valve that allows a tolerable amount of the process to happen.
The key thing for me, and I emphasize "for me" here, is that forgiveness is a natural process in which the less I do to speed it up the better.