Friday, October 12, 2007


"To be truly liberated, we have to make an effort to communicate with those we dislike, to try to understand and accept them as they are and to experience our mutual humanity. This is forgiveness."

Jean Vanier, Becoming Human

What is more difficult when it comes to human relationships than to wash away the negative thoughts and feelings one has for another human being, especially if they are the cause of your pain? Where do you start? How do you do this without feeling like you've compromised yourself?

There's a huge difference between assertive forgiveness and passive forgiveness. One is when you ensure your self esteem and integrity remain intact, whereas the other is a forgiveness which compromises your confidence. The first is liberating. The second passive kind still feels like a self imposed sentence.

We are in control of how we react and act in any situation, which of course is easier said than done isn't it? When the dam of feelings bursts through the sluice without any way of redirecting or holding back, our reactions and actions take on a radiated passion too hot to secure. When our emotions take centre stage.......when they override our more cognitive thoughts, we lose clarity. WE see RED.

When we are hurt emotionally, .........we see orange and yellow and neon flashes of RED. Forgiveness doesn't come from a red hot searing place. Forgivness comes from a more earthy toned calmer place in our hearts where all colours blend to ground us.

Sometimes forgiveness takes a lifetime. Sometimes it takes that long to gain the calming insight to recognize the other person's humanity. Sometimes, however, we are just not capable of forgiving. The pain is too deep........the act too evil.....the other person too mean and wounded. Is this when we reliquish our role of forgiving and pass it onto our Higher Power?

Is this when we say....................Hey God, can you help me on this forgiveess thing? I'm having a very tough time with this one..

One thing I have learned is that if one can't forgive, one missed out on that relieving sense of liberation. A continued feeling of being shackled to the tense by-pass will persist. Who wants to be a slave to hatred?


Carmi said...

You're a better person than I am, as I've never been good at the forgiveness thing. I think it's part of my whole righteous journalist persona: I simply don't have the capability of letting go.

On the plus side, I don't harbor long-term feelings of hatred. People who end up on the wrong side of my happiness simply slip into my dimly lit past. I more or less forget them as I shift my focus toward people and events that matter more.

Michele wanted me to drop by to let you know that I'm really not all that vindictive :)

Awareness said...

Hey Carmi...........NO I am not. I suck at forgiveness......I thought that if I wrote about it, I would possibly make a step closer to that ethereally unattainable grab at it. like you, I tend to let the people who hurt me slip away......there is a dimming of light as far as I'm concerned.

It is a tremendously difficult thing to be able to do, and yet I have worked with people who have lived the most abused lives imaginable and they have found a way. This gives me hope and motivation to continue pursuing this ability.

kenju said...

No one wants to be a slave to forgiveness, but it is much easier said than done, right? I like the quote above about the 2 kinds of forgiveness. I never thought about it that way before.
MNIchele says hi.

Dustin said...

Great thoughts, Dana.

I find that my struggle to forgive isn't really with those I am closest to in my life. Rather, it has to do with forgiving those I may not know for doing any number of "simple" things or those who are distantly connected to me. I don't have to face them regularly, and thus I am able to simply hold it inside and allow the negativity to overtake me.

Rainbow dreams said...

is moving on and a dimming of the light, with an acceptance of what has been, not a type of forgiveness.. perhaps for things that simply aren't that important?

Forgiveness for the big things is hard...even with a burning desire to forgive, to stop the eating up inside... it seems to me that the head can be desperate to forgive, yet the heart can take far longer to finally gain the peace it yearns for...
and at that point it is in fact out of our control

Awareness said...

Hi Judy.....glad you liked the two kinds....I made it up! :) However, I'm sure there must be some book out there that says the same thing.

Dustin...I can understand that as well.

Katie...I guess the key is to feel a sense of letting go when moving you describe. Letting go fully has to included heart and head don't you think?

Shaz said...

Forgiveness is for you. I often have people ask me how I forgive but if I dont it only hurts me, thats not to say I condone there actions but I need peace.

Gypsy said...

Forgiveness I can do, its the forgetting that is harder for me.

I would like to share this with you and your readers Dana. Its by M. Scott Peck who is am American Psychiatrist and writer;

"The reason to forgive is for your own sake. For our own health. Because beyond that point needed for healing, if we hold on to our anger, we stop growing and our souls begin to shrivel."

I have learned to forgive because to do otherwise would be hurting me more.

Awareness said... are so right. we need to remember this. It is for ourselves as a means to find peace.

Gypsy...Great quote. thank you. I agree with it...we do stop our own growth if we can't let go and forgive.....even if, like Shaz mentions we don't condone their actions.......we need to move on.

it is the forgetting that is difficult. too bad there isn't a thing like a car wash for our cleaning out those nasties from our memories. :)

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

I love your reflections on the bigger topics of life and living ... this can be a very challenging one & like you said, is almost impossible to do in those moments of red hot rage. But when we get to the cooler colours of calmness we can wade through the feelings and emotions in a less volitile way and make decisions about how we will move forward. You can move forward in anger and resentment or you can move forward in forgiveness ... and sometimes, you just move forward, tired and discouraged and not sure how things will change, but you nonetheless put one foot in front of the other.
Peace and love to you, Dana. xx, JP/deb

paris parfait said...

Very wise words (and another great photo). Sometimes forgiveness is harder than others, but it is necessary to move on and find better relationships and opportunities in life. Too many people want to play the victim and just wallow in their pain. To me, that is a waste of time and energy, as the victim remains stuck, but the "offender" has already moved on with his/her life.