How do we forgive when the pain is so great? Is forgiveness even appropriate, and is forgiveness even ours to give when the perpetrators have hurt so many others?
I have the privilege of working with people who have suffered, people who are truly innocent victims who have suffered harm for no good reason other than the perpetrator being evil.
What we’ve discussed is the benefits of being a victim, since that’s what they are. We concluded that if being a victim was beneficial in any way, we would encourage it; that being said, being a victim ultimately just holds us back from healing. We discussed speaking kindly to our victim—literally creating an avatar and letting our victim know that for today and moving forward, we are going to lay it down and revisit it if we need to. It’s not that we are ignoring or invalidating our victim, however we are ready to proceed in a different way. It’s really important to not do this until you are ready and have support, and even more important, not to shame yourself if you aren’t ready, because healing takes time and none of this was your fault.
I’d like to suggest we take a similar approach to forgiveness. Let me first clarify that forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, it doesn’t mean we are friends, or for that matter even acquaintances. It means I’m letting go of the heavy burden I have been carrying. The burden being my mind occupied by the resentment, anger and pain, the burden of letting my perpetrator occupy space in my head. I’d like to suggest that we do it the same way we’ve let go of victimhood, by giving ourselves permission to let go, rather than obligating ourselves to let go. We make sure it’s the right time and that we are ready, while also reminding ourselves that the resentment is most likely going to come back and the process takes time because it’s exactly that—a process, not a straight line. Success is just being you!
This week, let’s try and find forgiveness for something or someone, while reminding ourselves that we are really doing it more for ourselves than for anyone else.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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