What is forgiveness? What needs to happen for us to come to a conscious need to forgive each other?
According to Christian ethics, forgiveness is a kind of act of humility and inner purification. The decision to forgive is a result of the need to move forward.
In the specifics of everyday life, very often what offends us are the words. The reason is that we do not want to identify with the qualities they describe – we consider them as something “bad” and unacceptable. In other cases, the injury is not only with words, but also with actions that have made us feel humiliated and without a sense of dignity. We forgive the insult or pain we feel when someone “hits” us with words or physical action.
The loved ones hurt us the most
If there is one thing that makes the blow even more painful, it is when it comes from a person accepted as close to the intimate world, who has won our trust. Relatives and friends know best our weaknesses, fears and wounds, we are open to them. And when a person has so little protection for someone, it means that he does not expect to be hurt by him.
And what exactly are human relationships without trust?
An interpersonal exchange of the dominant and the dominated, in which there is no equality and mutual respect, and instead fear reigns. In such an interaction, the dominant fears that they would lose control of the other and, most of all, unconsciously, of themselves. In such an individual lives the fear of disintegrating and completely losing their personality in interaction with the outside world and people. That is why they prefer to control everything and everyone. Such a person needs to begin to “control” themselves, to build their inner support and value in order to cope with the deep-rooted feeling of inadequacy, weakness and guilt.
In a relationship of relative equality and mutual trust, the insult provokes pain the more deeply its addressee is allowed into our inner world. If we look at human relationships as a channel through which energy flows in two directions between two people, the insult looks like a knot that prevents energy from flowing freely in both directions. Sometimes it can be a small knot, but no matter how hard we try to pretend it doesn’t exist, it’s there and pulls on both of us. Over time, despite the seemingly good intentions of those affected, it becomes a knot of negative energy – a kind of black hole that absorbs any attempt at tenderness, trust and love. And so, until the moment when the two get tired of trying to infuse positive energy into their relationship, because it disappears somewhere.
Forgiveness cannot work with all its healing power in a specific relationship until the affected person accepts the momentary weakness of the other. It activates its full potential when the injured person decides to move forward with the clear awareness that the person next to him is more important than the pain caused.
It seems too “human” to hurt another human being when we feel unstable and weak.
And why is it so difficult to forgive or beg for forgiveness?
One of the reasons a person does not forgive stems from the reluctance of the other to feel better. Refusal to grant or accept forgiveness is a form of punishment for the other person. A kind of act of exercising control over the situation, which comes as compensation for the lost control.
We have been hurt and humiliated too much and for too long? We feel that the other person can no longer give us anything good? And most of all, we probably feel that we can no longer trust him? In order to forgive the other, we must first forgive ourselves – that we have allowed someone too close, that we have allowed him to hurt us with his words and actions, because we have not set healthy boundaries.
Maybe we not know our own wounds and fears well enough, which are like waiting to be “touched” to cause pain. And the more we close our eyes that these “weaknesses” of ours do not exist, the more painful we feel when someone activates them through insult.
Meditation with forgiveness
Let us imagine that we are completely alone at night, in a dark and dense forest. The apples of the eyes are wide open in the impenetrable darkness, we hear only the swaying of the branches and feel the wind coolly touching our skin. We get goosebumps.
What thoughts pass through our mind? What would we be afraid of?
From the thought of an approaching beast that will tear us apart, or from the freezing feeling that we are completely alone, defenseless? Whatever situation we find ourselves in, the emergence of such strong and extreme emotions for the future outcome of things is nothing more than a reflection of personal fears, but also dreams and daydreams.
Each of the thoughts that pass come from the imagination and, accordingly, from our own unconscious psyche. The less we are aware of this part of us, the more threatening the thoughts in the dark would seem. There is nothing more frightening than what is within ourselves, deep, in the impenetrable darkness of the most hidden parts of our own psyche. Jung calls this our shadow. It consists of both the worst and the best of us and it is just waiting to be illuminated by the light of consciousness in order to have a chance to join our whole personality.
It is extremely difficult for a person to accept his own psychic shadow.
The thought, that it contains parts that he himself disapproves of and even despises terrifies him. And the greater this unknown and rejected part of a person is, the more difficult it is for them to give or accept consciously and sincerely someone’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is not given to erase the memory of an insult, on the other hand, its true strength is that it can change the future that would follow without it.