Sunday, January 13, 2008

How To Forgive and Quit Your Bitchin'

Over the past few years, I have spent some time thinking about forgiveness and fortunately (or unfortunately) have had the opportunity to perfect the process. When I was younger, forgiving was all about making someone feel bad for what they did and then calling a truce when being mad got tired or I finally bullied them into repentance, ha ha. After the truce, I would still feel bad. And when you feel bad, you treat people badly. And when you treat people badly, well, you feel like crap. Vicious I tell ya! It wasn’t until I realized that forgiveness is a process that involves only one person (moi), that I truly began the process of forgiving people.

But what does forgiveness look like?
I will describe what it is for me, which may or may not follow the biblical, moral, or societal norm, but hey, that’s me!…its what I’ve got!

It’s nice when the catalyst for forgiveness is repentance…sort of gets the ball rolling…but let’ assume I don’t get that luxury. I can’t let myself continue to be the victim by waiting and being held captive to the other person’s indecisiveness to repent or the ignorance of their act. It simply slows down the process and makes forgiveness contingent upon someone else. This simply won’t do as I haven’t got all day!

Should we try to forget after we forgive?
Some say yes, but here’s my take. Forgiveness is a gift that brings inner healing. If we don’t forget, we can open this gift over and over. If we forget the act or the sin against us, we forget the gift also. And if we forget the sin or act, we blindly and unknowingly make ourselves vulnerable to the same sin again. And you ask"shouldn’t we turn our other cheek to the perpetrator?" Yes, we should, we should make ourselves vulnerable with our eyes wide open and while holding the knowledge of the sin against us. I think this allows us to make better decisions and possibly even prevent the act of wrong doing against us…or at least it prepares me to box your ass if you get out of line.

How it’s done!

Well, for me anyway, after a period of feeling badly, I make the conscious decision to stop sulking, I bite my pouty lip back in, unfold my arms and get off the fainting couch…the drama is over. I say to myself “I can forgive you”. This usually occurs in the shower, where I do most of my brainstorming and some of my critical thinking for the day. Then I make a mental list (no paper in shower) of things that I like about this person, things that they have done for me, ways that they add to my life, things that I appreciate about them, and really neat shit that they have bought me over the years. I am making this sound simple, but honestly, this could add up to a month of showers. Sometimes my husband opens the water bill and says “Who were you mad at this month?” You just never know until you start the process. Each day, I add good thoughts about this person and slowly let myself think less of the knife in my back. This process starts out very deliberately, but then something natural takes over and I start doing it without any effort and without even realizing that I am doing it. Once it becomes more natural, I’m pretty much over the hump, rounding third and almost home free. The power of positive thinking is nothing short of amazing and the law of attraction starts to apply by bringing peace to my life through my own thoughts. After which, I simply hand the knife back to them and say “I’m only giving this back to you because I love you."


Shemley said...

I agree that repentance is the catalyst for forgiveness. Your post to me was very relevant because of personal circumstances that I am going through. After your reading your post I am going to forgive the person who hurt me due ignorance as opposed to maliciousness as was first thought.

Thanks Hixy...

Michelle Hix said...

You rock! Glad you are taking the high road.

Haylzc5 said...

It takes a big person to forgive someone, because although it still hurts, you still do it.

Forgiveness is very hard, but the long term effects after mean the most.

Hayley x

Elise said...

Forgiveness is definitely a hard thing to do. But until you forgive you'll never be free...


Cocaine Princess said...

Forgiveness for me is such a hard thing. I do agree that it can heal you and help you move forward. Personally, when someone hurts me in a very bad way I may forgive them but at the same time I cut them right out of my lives for good. It's a little drastic I know but I could never look at that person the same way again.

Cocaine Princess.

P.S. You'll soon find out about Lawyer-Guy: what V's daddy did and what he sent me.

Michelle Hix said...

I remember reading that on your blog...that once someone does you wrong you are done with them. As far as LG goes, I think I know what he gave you and if I'm right...well, lets just say there wasn't much to x-ray right? He's bold, confident and presumptuous. Which can sometimes be attractive (for me anyway) but maybe not in this case.

Damama T said...

Michelle, it sounds like you are a very emotionally stable woman. It takes self confidence and inner strength to be able to let go of things. WELL DONE! And tell your husband that the water bills are still way cheaper than the shrink's bills would be! xoxo & TTFN

Kat Mortensen said...

I do that in the shower too. The heat from the warm water melts one's resistance and clears your head. You can see your way to admitting you were wrong, or at least begin to see the other person's point of view.
My policy is to try and always be the first to forgive.

AngelConradie said...

oh thats an awesome post, definitely something to think about!