Is forgiving REALLY essential to moving forward/growing? Does it really get to the heart of the matter?
Allowing ourselves to feel our anger, pain, sense of betrayal, upset, outrage is actually what’s essential to our healing and growth. Making safe space to fully experience and vent all of the energy of those feelings – by our selves, not on someone and without judging ourselves for feeling/doing so – is what heals us. Carving such space out of our busy lives can be enormously challenging, so we may have to do this process in small, intermittent bits and snatches. This will still work.
It takes as long as it takes, though much less time if we fully embrace rather than judge our right to have these feelings.
New Age (as well as Christian) precepts warn us that it’s only by forgiving those who’ve wronged us that we can move on and grow ourselves or be good people. In response, we pressure ourselves to let go of our anger and upset at those who’ve hurt us, we force ourselves to be okay with whatever it is/was. When we do this, the truth (as I see it) is that we are actually further violating/wounding our already violated/wounded selves.
And, currently popular New Age “law of attraction” flap would have us believe that “feeling such [so-called negative] feelings will only draw more of the same to us.” Yet, shutting off these feelings when they arise forces them below the level of our awareness and stows them into our bodies, wreaking havoc inside of us.
Those who’ve physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused us, in childhood or as adults, have treated our precious selves in truly unacceptable and unforgivable ways. As we allow ourselves to feel and know this, we can – at the same time – come to a place of recognizing that these misguided victimizers were doing the best they could with the consciousness available to them. We can see them as emotionally crippled beings. We can understand that they were unable to act differently. Yet, we do not need to pardon, excuse, absolve or exonerate their acts even as we understand that what they did was all they were capable of doing at the time.
Compassionately acknowledging, honoring and taking the most gentle care of our precious and wounded self/spirit is what helps us to heal.