- Gender and Relationships
8 Reasons to Find Freedom with Forgiveness
Forgiving one who has caused hurt is so difficult, and the more severe the hurt, the more arduous the task of forgiveness can be. Yet this critically important concept is vital not just to individuals but extends to entire nations and large groups. We can never say enough about the importance of forgiveness nor give enough guidance toward this important healing, freedom from pain and victim recovery.
Set Yourself FREE!
1) Forgiveness allows our energy to become available to empower our lives, to live in the NOW.
Once you begin to forgive, you then no longer rent out space in your brain for resentment toward your abuser. Rather you accept that they are themselves wounded human beings who are acting out in childish ways out of ignorance. Likely they suffer from their own toxic shame that that drives a need to manipulate, abuse and hurt others.
As long as you spend energy secretly hating someone, then you will remain attached to them which gives them power. This is avoidance of recovery. As long as you carry around emotional baggage of unfinished business from the past, then you contaminate the present.
“Resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Once you let GO, you then create space…a vacuum for new and positive growth. It’s as though you have opened a valve to suck in new and positive growth.
After my divorce I often found pulling weeds to actually be comforting. I’d yank those babies out and throw them, enjoying the metaphor of getting rid of the old dead wood and making room for new growth.
2) Forgiveness teaches us to make the best of the lesson learned, to stop being a victim and move ON.
Napolean Hill says “Every negative contains within it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” From the perspective of forgiveness, we might then accept the lessons learned from the sad experience, be grateful for that lesson and strive to make the best of it. The equal or greater benefit may be the emergence of a much stronger and wiser person who has mastered this lesson and now will not replay the same circumstances in future relationships. It is common to see victims of abuse end relationships only to get involved in a clone of the same type. Those who learn to truly forgive and accept it all as a lesson needed to be learned will not be so likely to repeat their past. It was negative, maybe even so horribly negative that to forgive seems ludicrous. However a greater positive can be the result once we lot go of resentment, and move on with life.
“The difficulties in life are intended to make us better, not bitter.”
Eckert Tolle writes that "to complain is nonacceptance of what IS and to do so is to make yourself a victim...to speak out is to be in power! Take action bt speaking out. Accept the situation or leave. All else is madness."
3) Improve your personal health.
“Learning to forgive improves your health immensely. It reduces the toxic stress you carry around in your body.” Dr. Edward Hollowell, author of Dare to Forgive. Learning to forgive is much more than just a nice thing to do – rather it is vital to our own long-term health. Forgiveness is not some superficial nor sentimental process.
The medical paradigm of how we think of health was the absence of disease. However now there is a new appreciation for and knowledge of our physicals bodies and how we care for them. This includes how well our life-force flows through our bodies. “For optimim health this life-force must be able to flow freely. As Colin Tipping says in his book Radical Forgiveness, “We cannot be healthy if our bodies are clogged with the energy of resentment, anger, sadness, guilt, and grief.”
4) Forgiving compliments the grief process.
Part of the process of both grief and forgiveness is acceptance of our own emotions about being violated. Real harm was done, and does need to be validated and acknowledged. As Fritz Perls says, “Nothing changes until it becomes what IS.” It is not recommended to try and forgive a person immediately following a deep hurt. We need time to grieve, and that grief process is vital. It could take six months to 2 years before a person is really ready to genuinely forgive. Grief work needs to be done, for the relationship has died and that is not much different from a real death.
In some cases the grief of an ended relationship might be even more painful than grief over a death. A death has closure, a solid ending. Yet when a relationship ends such as a divorce, often the conflicts and deep hurt continues for years – especially for those with children. In that situation, forgiveness is especially vital since the process may need to be repeated over and over again, as new hurtful situations repeat over many years. Custody battles, brainwashing children to choose one parent over another, manipulating kids with money and total leniency may likely be one of the most difficult to forgive.
5) Accept that forgiving does not condone the behavior of the wrong-doer at all.
Forgiveness is NOT to reconcile nor excuse the injustice. It was wrong, period. Instead, forgiveness is about releasing those behaviors from our minds. The other person does not even have to know that you have forgiven them…it is not about doing THEM a favor, rather the favor is for YOU!
The anger and resentment toward this person are quite normal reactions and need to be expressed. However anger and resentment can be addictions. Only genuine forgiveness will release us from those negative addictions, enabling us to begin moving beyond the pain. “When you forgive, you decide not to seek revenge, no matter how much the person who hurt you may deserve it” says Bob Enright, author of Forgiveness is a Choice.
6) Forgiveness prepares us for much richer and healthier future relationships.
Forgiveness deepens our capacity to feel close to people. By releasing the addiction to negative emotions of resentment and hatred, we then are able to invest our real and authentic selves in new relationships, to trust and value closeness, to erase our fear of intimacy.
“Every person we meet offers us the opportunity to choose between projection or forgiveness, union or separation. However, the more intimate we become with someone and the closer they get to our true self, the more likely it is that they will learn the guilty truth about us. This possibility of being discovered creates enormous fear inside us – and the temptation to project becomes almost irresistible. At this point, the honeymoon is over. The fear of intimacy becomes so strong that the relationship is likely to fall apart. Most do.”
Colin Tipping, Radical Forgiveness.
7) Forgiveness helps us learn to stop trying to change people or believe they can be someone they are not.
Here’s a story told by a very wise counselor: Imagine that you had a flat tire in a rural area. No one else is around and you have no way to fix it. A car drives up and out of it walks a man with no arms and offers to fix your flat tire. Now WHY would you ever even BELIEVE this to even be possible? Of course not, yet we seem to think we might be able to ‘fix’ our mates when they have zilch intention to be fixed.
We have some odd idea that they can ‘help’ us when they do not have the potential to DO so. A counselor of abuse victims says…“He’s a table - stop trying to make him a chair!” Trying to change others is its own form of insanity… “doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.”
8) Forgiveness releases us from the painful wounds of our own ‘inner child’ and the tendency toward remaining a victim.
Most of us have some level of personal deficits due to unmet needs in early stages of development. To investigate and then accept our own inner wounded child is vital to process of healing, for it allows the corrective work that reveals the true and inner self by releasing the shame and doubt that shadows us from our past. This corrective experience is a form of re-education to repair those deficits.
The ‘inner child’ workshops became wildly popular in the 80’s. One author who has written extensively on this topic is John Bradshaw. While there is a continuum of degrees, we all have a bratty inner child who wants to blame the world for their pain and remain a victim. Putting that child to rest is key toward genuine recovery from old wounds.