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My Forgiveness Anchor

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I haven't been working very hard on my anchors, because it's easy to throw things out there into cyberspace and then forget about them. Plus, I've had quite a lot going on with really important, pressing things that I'll share once there is more to tell. But I did get to spend some time this week thinking about forgiveness and getting there. And jeepers. It is TOUGH.

Forgiveness is such an abstract term. Almost ethereal, really. I think it's hard for most of us to wrap our heads around it. And it doesn't get any easier when someone's "steps for forgiveness" include such non-actionable nonsense as "Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you, or condoning of their action." What the heck kind of step is that? I'll answer for you. It isn't one. And I'm having a hard time forgiving THAT. =)

I have picked up a few thoughts on forgiveness that seem very simple, very concrete. In the comments on an advice column I read daily, someone wrote, "Forgiveness is about giving up the desire to punish." Someone else on that same comments section wrote, "Forgiveness is acceptance that the past couldn't have been any different." And someone else on there quoted Jorge Luis Borges (whose poem "La dicha" is one of the most gorgeous pieces I've ever encountered, but that's apropos of nothing): "I am not talking about forgiveness or revenge. I am talking about forgetting, which is the best forgiveness and the ultimate revenge." Okay, now we're talking.

But I am struggling nonetheless, because I am thinking about forgiving a person for a situation that is very near to me. And you know what? I DON'T WANT TO LET IT GO. I don't! I really don't know how I can manage to set aside what this person has done to me without them acknowledging that it was a terrible, unprofessional, ridiculous offense, especially since I'm still in contact with this person DAILY. I had the same problem with a former boss. It took years to forgive, and all I got there was eventual ambivalence about her existence. I'd like to forgive in theory, but I can't get over that initial hump of wanting to actually forgive in practice. I can give up the desire to punish, and I can accept that it happened and can't be different. I can even try to forget, which, wow, Jorge, I LOVE that, but I just don't know if I can FORGIVE.

I found a couple links that are helpful for getting there, I THINK. I'm going to post them here, because otherwise, they'll get lost in the ether with the mushy concept of forgiveness. But I would really love if any of you wiser Sparklers could shed some of your wisdom on me. I admittedly feel a little stuck.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon Glad you found it, indeed that is the blog I meant!

    Best of luck. Let's assume you will get there!
    1581 days ago
    I found the blog you mention, and it is here:

    BR>You're right. It is just what the doctor ordered. I think I need to read it a lot. And I think I can get there. Thank you SO MUCH for your comment. It's invaluable.
    1581 days ago
    I struggled with my thoughts about someone who hurt my feelings very deeply.
    At some point (after two years or so) I read in a blog here at SP by Wispy (not sure how she spells her username, but she can be found on my list of friends) that someone told her that she should say out loud that she wishes the person SHE was struggling with, everything that she wanted for herself. ALSO if she did not mean it. Three times.
    I admit I didn't think this made a lot of sense and I wasn't too willing to do it, but I did do that same thing as an 'experiment'. I didn't know what else to do to get unstuck. I relaxed for a few moments and then thought about what I want most for myself. Then out loud I said thee times, 'X, I want for you to have (the things I wanted for myself).'
    This must sound funny. But, within a few months the situation which had been stuck for such a long time started to 'move' again... Not quickly. But now, about 1.5 years later, the issue is nearly completely (dis)solved and I feel so much better and so does the other person.

    At some point (a few weeks / months after the experiment) I realized that I had a choice. Either continue to think nasty thoughts about that person and write him angry letters and demand that he would do x and y. Try to work it out (but holding on to my resentment in the meantime). Or chose to enter a dialogue with this person about something else, really. To work together on some sort of project. And in working on that project, having a shared focus, we found more understanding I think for one another. This allowed the situation to become unstuck.

    Don't know if this helps. It's just my experiences. You could go into a quiet room where no one sees you and do the experiment. Won't hurt to try...?
    1581 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/18/2014 4:06:27 PM
    BEATLETOT, I am also plagued with forgiveness struggles. I regret to say that in my youth, when I was completely insecure and fresh out of a childhood that I now realize taught me some bad emotional habits, I was the one who went around doing things that probably caused others to struggle with forgiveness. I did not behave very well at all and had little consideration for the feelings of others. I am so glad I've been allowed to live long enough to atone, at least in part, for my transgressions. People were in general always good to me, which makes it doubly regretful that I was selfish and often hurtful. I think I've pretty much forgiven myself, but my problem now is I find it almost impossible to forgive people who have treated my children very badly. It is so hard to overcome the desire for revenge! I am happy to report that even though I have fantasized many times about exacting revenge, I have never followed through. The feeling always fades with time, but I suppose I haven't really forgiven because I still feel deep resentment toward a couple of people who hurt my children very intentionally in what felt like an evil way.

    I want to take time later to study the suggestions on forgiveness you've provided a link to here. I gave it a brief perusal earlier and thought it was so very good. And I want to say that I admire you for thinking about this issue so carefully. Whereas in my case, I repress these episodes and rely on time to make my bad feelings fade, you are actively and consciously addressing important moral issues. I think your approach is much healthier than mine!
    1583 days ago
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