Forgiveness, what’s it all about?
To me the basics around forgiveness is this:
A situation arises where you either, Intentionally or unintentionally cause another person harm. It may have been to their feelings, their property, physically, or emotionally.
In an every day situation, you may unintentionally bump into someone because you weren’t paying attention. For the majority of people, we instinctively apologise. ‘Oops! Im so sorry!’ We naturally ask forgiveness for our part in the incident. The person in most cases will accept the apology and everyone goes about their day none the worse.
The times this can get tricky is when in the same situation, the bumper does not feel they need to apologise. Maybe they feel unable to accept they have anything to apologise for. Maybe they feel you should have seen them coming and stepped to one side, as you could tell they weren’t paying attention & therefore you should be expected to preempt their actions. So, the bumper issues no apology. The bumpee then glares at the bumper expecting said apology and a stale mate of sorts begins to play out.
The bumper then gets defensive, the bumpee irate. Sarcasm may come into play on the bumpee’s part. “Don’t mind me, I’m only walking here!” Or words to that affect may be said. The bumper then feels angered and issues some equally sarcastic retort and both stomp off into their day, completely changed from a simple encounter. It impacts on both of their day and can then become a source of ‘everything was fine until that person…..’ well, you get the idea.
So what do we do when we encounter a non-apologiser?
In the easier scenario above, the best option would be for us to take a moment. Take a breath and forgive. Whether out loud or in our mind, be forgiving.
Is it likely that the person set out that day to bump into you on purpose? No.
Is it likely that they were paying attention to have bumped into you? No.
So is it therefore likely that they are engaged in what they are doing or their own stresses or issues? Yes.
We don’t know what goes on in the lives of others. In their minds, their personal lives, what troubles they are dealing with. But by taking that moment to breathe and forgive, you have transmuted a potential downward spiral into a positive response. You have prevented that downward spiral, not only for yourself, but for the other person too.
If you are able to say your forgiveness out loud, all the better because you are then enabling that person to see a situation where an apology would have been accepted and that it has positive affects and ripples outward. Those ripples are the sparks of change that can help others slowly but surely, become more in line with their true loving self instead of their ego/mind self.
Now, having said all of that, it isn’t always that easy. The example given was two strangers bumping into each other, never likely to see each other again. How does forgiveness work when it’s closer to home? When a loved one has hurt us in some way, be it with words, actions or in-actions even. Whether intentional or not, sorry can be even more difficult to say or mean, when it comes to family.
Families are funny old units. Essentially a mix of individual human beings just like every other, but stuck together like glue via blood lines and parentage and marriage. Within families we aren’t just ourselves. We are someone’s sister, daughter, mother, father, brother, aunty, cousin or uncle. It’s additional labels with additional responsibilities and rules. The roles are often learnt from a young age and then self imposed. For many, that’s normal. The hierarchy of family bonds.
But it can make forgiveness and apology very difficult. There is a lot more to it. Emotional ties, memories and attitudes. With a stranger there is no emotional connection other than within that moment and forgiving someone who fails to see there was anything to apologise for, is really fairly easy. It’s not worth your energy to create any deeper connection to that moment in time, so a simple forgive, forget & carry on your day is best for all concerned.
So how do we approach this, when we feel wronged or hurt by a loved one & they either feel they have nothing to apologise for, or refuse to apologise despite knowing they did wrong you or caused you upset?
The simple answer? Forgive them anyway.
It takes a lot of energy to stay mad at someone. It takes alot of your own personal energy to stay in the moment of the past and it causes deeper and deeper trauma to yourself and all those involved. Forgive them anyway.
If you find yourself having to insist on an apology, the apology has become viod and without any true meaning. The non apologiser is not in a balanced enough place to see their part in the situation and their ego is locked in a battle of needing to be right and not allowing itself to be ‘weak’ or ‘vunerable’
Take yourself to a place of non judgment and see it for the facts. Take your own ego mind out of the equation and instead look at what is best for you and your forward momentum.
Forgive them anyway. Even if they cannot see that they have a need to be forgiven, accept that for what it is- A need to be right and not to be vulnerable, a person like that need forgiveness to grow.
Acknowledge and be accepting of where that person is on their life path. They do not need your judgement and you do not need an apology that they aren’t in a position emotionally to give.
By forgiving them anyway, you free yourself from any further emotional attachment to the situation and you actually help that person to grow too, as well as yourself.
Let go of the need to be right yourself!! Let go of the apology that you will not receive!
Let go of the need to judge that person for not being able to give that apology.
If an apology wasn’t given naturally and instinctively it will never be given from the heart, until that person can grow to a point that they can accept that it’s okay and healthy to make mistakes and even more okay and healthy to want to correct any hurts they’ve caused.
Accepting those mistakes as experiences to help you grow, takes you to a place of appreciation, empathy and seeing the wrongs or hurt, you may have caused others and WANTING to set those things right.
So forgive them anyway. It doesn’t necessarily mean you want to be around them. They may have caused you to doubt them or trust may have been lost and therefore you feel uneasy around them. Maybe your relationship will be more distant. Those are all natural responses and sensible too from a survival point of view.
Just don’t invest any further energy into the situation or rift. Forgive them anyway.
When they know they’ve been forgiven, they may not want it and thats okay too. But by openly forgiving, you are giving them the option to grow and want to help make something right. You are providing the option for them to want to work at regaining that trust again in the future. Those are options you do not open yourself or them up to, if you allow yourself to get caught up in the ‘which or us is more right’ ego battle.
Just Forgive them anyway and break free from the issue. They will do what they will do, but you will feel better for it.