Forgiveness is a concept as old as humanity. I’m not sure how it was discovered, but many religious texts reference the act of forgiveness in various ways.
A Course in Miracles
One of my favorite books, A Course in Miracles, has a lesson on forgiveness. Lesson 122, says “Forgiveness lets the veil be lifted up that hides the face of Christ from those who look with unforgiving eyes upon the world.” Being able to forgive is an eye-opening experience. It lightens your load, but sometimes it doesn’t work.
Forced Forgiveness Doesn’t Work
If it is forced, it will not be genuine and you will still harbor those feelings. Remember when you were little and your mom made you apologize for something even though in your heart you didn’t want to? I bet a situation popped into your head right now!
Forced forgiveness doesn’t work. It needs to come from a place of self-awareness, love, and understanding. Not to mention it needs to be genuine. If you’re being made to do it…it’s not gonna happen. If you aren’t sincere about it, there’s no need to apologize. Save your sorry.
Forgiveness Starts with You
Another reason why forgiveness doesn’t work is that you haven’t forgiven yourself. You pardon everyone else for the things they did that hurt you, but you haven’t truly released because you didn’t forgive the most important person, you! When things happen in our lives, there is one person that is always present and they are usually the last to be forgiven and that’s you!
No one deserves anything bad to happen to them and I’m not condoning any traumatic experiences. What I’m saying is that part of the journey to true healing and moving forward requires you to forgive yourself.
It’s Hard to Forgive in a Cycle of Pain
Forgiveness doesn’t work in toxic or abusive situations. Whether it’s verbal, emotional, financial, or physical abuse. A lifelong friend, or even a family member. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to keep taking someone else’s shit. It’s misunderstood that forgiving someone means they get to stay in your life and keep doing you wrong. I’m here to tell you that is not the case. It’s not forgiveness when you are being mistreated and after apologies and promises, you forgive time and time and time again. It’s not going to work, it’s a cycle of pain and drama that needs to stop.
Having to say sorry for the same thing over and over again is the sign of a sorry person. How many sorry’s can you bear? #lovelesson
Protect Your Peace
It’s hard to forgive anyone that keeps hurting you. It’s like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble. If your job stopped paying you, how long would it take you to stop being forgiving and walk away or do something about it? Pretty much immediately, right? In our own personal lives, we need to be that protective of our peace by putting up barriers and boundaries from toxic people and unhealthy situations. Forgiveness doesn’t work when you’re hurting and still in the middle of the mess.
Genuine Forgiveness From the Heart
Once you are out of the situation, then you can start to close the door on it and focus on healing and forgiveness. For forgiveness to work, it needs to come from the heart and be intentional. You also need to be in a healthy place where you are able to be open to the idea of releasing that pain and the story that you have been carrying around.
When that time comes is different for everyone, but you will know when you are truly ready to forgive. True forgiveness starts with self. I know because before I could even think about forgiving my abuser, I had to do a lot of work on loving and healing myself and that included forgiveness.
Are You Ready to Forgive?
You may need help processing in order to get yourself to a place of forgiveness. Maybe you need help with the forgiveness process. Either way, there is plenty of support available to help you get to that place. Forgiveness is freeing and healing. I know because I've had to forgive someone who hurt me deeply. Until I was able to forgive them I was not able to heal my heart.
When you are ready to forgive you will know. You will get to a point where you no longer want to carry the weight of the situation. Erykah Badu warned us long ago about becoming a bag lady. Carrying all your worries, pains, and traumas will cause you to miss out on amazing life experiences. Are you ready to pack light?