What exactly is forgiveness? Is it something that everyone deserves?
We have all been hurt in ways which we didn’t deserve, and some of us have been hurt in ways that don’t warrant forgiving the person who has caused the pain.
However, I still will argue that forgiveness—as I define it for myself—is valuable to everyone, and for almost every circumstance.
The first person we must typically forgive is ourselves. Forgive yourself for being angry, and allow yourself to fully feel your feelings and the injustice that has been brought unto you. Anger is okay, even though we have been told that it isn’t; it’s a normal and natural reaction to hurt and pain.
I often tell others (and myself, since my writings are always directed at me) that it’s okay to be angry with God, to challenge God’s decisions—so to say—to allow so much suffering and pain in this world, and to challenge any and all injustice that we witness or perceive.
The key is to have a relationship. The worst emotion of all is apathy and not caring. A relationship where you are angry still shows you care and are engaged; you are searching for answers
Yet back to forgiveness: what exactly is it? I believe it’s the process of letting go, neither forgetting nor being best friends with the perpetrator, or even having any sort of relationship whatsoever with them. It’s about not letting it occupy space in your head, and no longer allowing it to be a gorilla on your back. It’s about not allowing it to hold you down, and not permitting it to hold you back. Yet in order to achieve this, we must first fully embrace and feel our feelings, and we must give ourselves permission to go through the process.
We are approaching the time of judgement and forgiveness in the Jewish Calendar. As we approach this auspicious time, let’s start by embracing ourselves. Find a way to allow yourself to have your process and time. Don’t rush any process and don’t demand of yourself to feel a certain way to forgive at a certain point. Just allow yourself to be on the journey, since it’s by being on the journey that we end up arriving at beautiful destinations.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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