Reflections on Forgiveness:
Forgiveness - the power that heals!
To forgive others and yourself is an empowering act: an act that is much misunderstood.
- Forgiveness (a process) towards personal growth and expanding your human potential.
- You choose to let go of a past wrong, in order to no longer be hurt by it.
- Forgiveness is a strong move to make, like turning your shoulders sideways to
walk quickly on a crowded sidewalk.
Where Are You on the Path toward Peace and Healing?
Forgiveness is a healing journey for both body and soul. You usually know in your
heart that you want, or need, to forgive someone; but by now you also know that the path
toward peace can be difficult.
To move forward, it often helps to have an accurate sense of where you are right now.
Anyone who has ever been victimized must decide whether or not to forgive the
perpetrator. There can be no middle ground to this decision: either you decide to forgive the
person who hurt you; or you hold on to bitterness and anger.
Holding on to bitterness and anger causes problems of their own. If you have ever been
victimized, being able to forgive your victimizer/perpetrator is a crucial part of your healing.
Dawn Cove Abbey
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
(1985 – rev: 2010-2019)
|Forgiveness - the Ultimate Soul Detoxifier: Power That Heals
Letting Yourself Off The Hook of Toxic Soul Poisoning
|"As long as you don't forgive,
who and whatever it is - will occupy rent-free space in your mind."
Forgiveness . . . so misunderstood . . .
Forgiveness - is the power that heals: to forgive others and yourself is an empowering
act! It requires that you sort out for yourself what you are really doing – and what you
are not doing.
- Forgiveness is not letting the other person "off"
- Forgiveness is letting yourself "off" - to end toxic inner bitterness and ongoing hurt
The Effects Of Not Forgiving is Excessive Inhibition:
- By hanging onto your hurts, and inhibiting yourself, you produce deadness; numbing
whole areas of the body; inhibiting breathing, movement, the flow of energy.
Holding onto hurts brings fixation:
- stunting growth; creating in you the experience of being blocked off; in a dream-like
state of half aliveness.
To help dispel more misconceptions about this, please watch a very special video by
Forgiveness, however, is difficult and poses a problem for many people simply because they
are not clear about what forgiveness really is.
All too often forgiveness gets confused with letting someone "off the hook", and with
And it has nothing to do with letting someone off the hook - you do it to let yourself off the
hook of constantly remembering, and reliving it.
And Reconciliation is a separate step from forgiveness. It may be a component of a larger
process - so that forgiveness is but one part. And at this point we are speaking only of
forgiveness; not reconciliation.
Forgiveness is hard work, very hard, and it is so tempting at times to avoid it; which is
self-defeating. If you remind yourself that you are doing it for yourself, not the other
person, it is easier to do the necessary inner work.
Anger, Bitterness and Hatred
Only when you forgive can we remove the hurt and let healing power flow in. The most
common response to being hurt is anger, bitterness and hatred.
But all that emotion that we carry around inside you doesn't affect the person you are
angry with, or whom you have come to hate.
- It only hurts you, even more than the original hurt.
- It festers and grows, prevents happiness and joy, and will affect your health.
- That anger, bitterness and hatred have to go, for your own sake.
But only when you have fully confronted (faced) it, and come to understand it: forgive, let go,
and then forget – but remember the lesson.
"Forget" in this sense means to move it from the forefront to the back of your mind,
reducing its intensity, and into the garbage can of other relatively "less devastating,
and no longer really painful, relevant" memories.
Since emotions are powerful aspects of our being, they can trick you into a false sense of
security as easily as working at it, for if you don't, sometimes when you least expect it,
the destructive feelings over some past hurt you thought you'd forgiven and forgotten, return
to start their negative process again.
Anger, bitterness and hate are difficult to eradicate. You may have to repeat the process
several times to finally get rid of them; and the deeper the hurt, the longer it may take. But as
you persevere, over time it will begin to happen. One thing that will give you power, is your
attitude in this (see Power Of Attitude)
Let's take a closer look at the process:
(1) who or what is our anger, bitterness and hate directed at; the person who did it, or the
thing they did? There is a big difference.
(2) Who or what is we're forgiving? The person who did it, or the act/words etc, they
committed? There is an important difference here, too.
Forgiveness, or forgiving someone,
is often seen as weakness. A long
time of involvement with people
has convinced me that this view is
wrong: it is an act of courage and
Another thing people tend to forget
is that it is as important to forgive
yourself - it is a way to move on - to
learn from the experience, and then
let go of it.
When we forgive, we heal ourselves,
and sometimes others. Most
important of all, perhaps, is the fact
that sometimes in order for us to be
able to forgive someone else for their
transgression, we have to forgive
ourselves for our own first.
Hurt vs Hurter
You see, because of the emotional intensity and the soul-pain, we tend to blur these two things
together, and it is this that heightens and increases the difficulty in the forgiving; we don't
want to be cruel or mean, yet at the same time, we have to make the hurt and pain go away.
That's why it is important to determine for ourselves which it is we want, or need, to actually
deal with: the person, or the thing that was done.
It may be a person we love(d) or like(d) who had never done something of that nature before,
and the incident was a one-of sort of deal. Or it was a person with a history of being nasty and
cruel, but we had "overlooked", denied and excused it until now.
So the questions is: was it done because they were (1) a bad, nasty person, perhaps even cruel
and evil, or (2) a decent person who made a terrible mistake?
Situation 2 is easier to deal with, once we separate the elements out: because depending
on our decision, we can continue to love the Person, but hate the act - and focus our feelings
on that, making it easier to forgive because that person is human just like we are, and prone
to making the occasional mistake. It is not a crime to be human, but it is wrong and not
acceptable to make devastating mistakes of that nature. Hence, perhaps we can bring
ourselves to forgive it and let it go, and give the person another chance - it will take time
to get really comfortable again, but over time, that will come - that's the power of
forgiveness and the detoxifying step we took in this case.
Situation 1 is a different story altogether: for we need to ask ourselves why we excused or
over-looked, or denied what we actually were "aware of" at the important level of our being;
because by doing so we became an agent of that person and helped bring the horror on. This is
not an easy thing to do, because accepting responsibility for our part in it is very difficult: in
large part, because we're angry at ourselves for doing so.
That means two things: we have to Forgive the other person, and/or their action, or both and
Forgive ourselves for our part.
There is no easy solution to this one. One option is to forgive the act, AND resolve to change
our connection with that person; or to forgive the person as well as the act, and let them go
out of our lives - they had a history of proving that they were not the kind of companions you
needed to surround yourself with.
Maybe by doing so you'll demonstrate to yourself that you are strong, and have courage, and
that letting that load go is better all the way around than carrying it any longer.
I hope this will be of help to you. It still won't be easy. One thing that makes it difficult is the
struggle with yourself. I cannot tell you which decision(s) to make - but can only encourage
you to make one that will detoxify your soul, heart and spirit.
Klaas Tuinman M.A.
Life Self-Empowerment Facilitation
at Dawn Cove Abbey
Comments and Questions are welcomed