All morning I was thinking about forgiveness. That may sound strange but I had been thinking of the person who sells drugs to my kidlets and what I’d like to do if I could get him by himself. Not a happy thought. And I heard “forgive” start echoing in my head. So I am so big on encouraging others folks to forgive I better apply it to myself. Here are the things I do know for sure about it.
Forgiveness isn’t the same as reconciliation. Reconciliation is two people coming together in mutual respect. Reconciliation requires both parties working together. Forgiveness on the other hand is something that is entirely up to you. The person you forgive may be deceased or no longer part of your life, but once you forgive them it’s finished and you move forward.
Forgiveness is not forgetting. “Forgive and forget” always seem to be said together. The process of forgiving involves acknowledging to yourself the wrong that was done to you, reflecting on it, and deciding how you want to think about it. Focusing on forgetting a wrong might lead to denying or suppressing feelings about it, which is not the same as forgiveness. Forgiveness has taken place when you can remember the wrong that was done without feeling resentment or a desire to pursue revenge. Sometimes, after we get to this point, we may forget about some of the wrongs people have done to us. But we don’t have to forget in order to forgive.
Forgiveness is not condoning or excusing. Forgiveness doesn’t minimize, justify, or excuse the wrong that was done. Forgiveness also doesn’t mean denying the harm and the feelings that the injustice produced. And forgiveness does not mean putting yourself in a position to be harmed again. You can forgive someone and still take healthy steps to protect yourself, including choosing to totally detach from the person/persons.
Forgiveness is not justice. It is certainly easier to forgive someone who sincerely apologizes and makes amends. But, justice….which may include acknowledgment of the wrong, apologies, punishment, restitution, or compensation….is separate from forgiveness and may never happen.
Forgiveness is a powerful choice you can make when it’s right for you that can lead to greater well-being and better relationships with other people.
Forgiveness is freedom for you/me and as hard as it is, I am choosing to forgive.
I love you all so very much. I am sending you pink, puffy cloud huggz.
Sarah-Pink Welch ©2013