Tough pill, amazing side effects.
Forgiveness is an intentional decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.
Still a tough pill to swallow, right?
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting the past patterns of behavior, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Please remember it is the pattern of behavior that one should focus on, because while outbursts of emotion are waves we all succumb to, patterns of behavior can shed light on where a person is struggling or succeeding.
Sorry, a spoonful of sugar doesn’t help with this medicine. It hurts to forgive. It hurts like hell to breathe in all those negative feelings and then sigh them out, liberating you from your resentment. Resentment, a noun in this case, is like collecting a bouquet of little betrayals and taking a sniff.
Larkspur, for example, is beautiful in a bouquet with petals of violet, pink, and white—but all parts are poisonous, so one should not ingest it. That’s what resentment is: ingested anger that lights your heart afire. Sure, it keeps you warm and feeling protected, but it’s only your heart getting burned.
Rosemary, on the other hand, is known for aiding memory, and the Greeks often braided the evermore herb into their hair to help with their studies. It also makes a wonderful incense that helps to clear the air—our brains respond to Rosemary’s gentle scent and we are reminded that our painful experiences have given us wisdom and knowledge. Remember that you don’t have to let go of the lesson, a detailed account of the experience, or even the memories of a relationship.
When we forgive, we’re releasing the pain and negative energy from the situation. We’re not releasing the story, the lesson, or even the anger. We’re releasing the parts that hurt us, and when it comes up again, we’ll be able to trust our indignation. We’ll be able to trust our anger. We’ll be anchored, fully present, and the injustice will have already be addressed.
Forgiveness gives the power back to us, and the price is releasing our pain. The instruction is to sit with those feelings, identify them, and understand them. Tell your mind that you can protect yourself, feel it, then dump it. Call on a higher power, write a letter and burn it…f*ck, print out an email and shred it.
Forgiveness is not an easy task, though. I’m still working on it. I have a few characters in my backstory who really sucked, and it’s hard to let them off the hook. My resentment keeps me “warm” when I think of them. Maybe I’m afraid of what I will feel when that heat of hate is gone. Maybe it’s not time to let go. Maybe there are other lessons I need to learn first—before forgiveness. There are always other lessons to learn.
Forgiveness: equal parts terrifying and beautiful, right?