FORGIVENESS…thank you!

Dear Ones –

Thank you so much for spending the week talking about forgiveness with me on this page. It's been beautiful, and I am grateful.

There is one last thing I wanted to say on the topic of forgiveness, which is this:


To forgive somebody is a great act of courage and grace (and ultimately a gift to the self) but it also must be done carefully, and in the right moment — and only when you are ready and strong enough. This means: Only when you have appropriately processed your anger, your sorrow, your shame, and your lessons.

Be careful not to skip over any of those steps of emotional processing and healing, in your haste to "move on".

Sometimes the reason we haven't forgiven somebody is because we never actually worked on the anger, the sorrow, the shame, or the lessons. We never examined the original pain very carefully. We never talked about the incident with anyone in an honest and vulnerable manner. We never worked the pain out of us. We never allowed ourselves to heal through therapy, or recovery, or prayer, or the support of others…or by learning how to set proper boundaries, or how to take care of our wounded selves with compassion.

Instead, we just settled immediately into RESENTMENT — which is like a hard cast that we wear over a wound that was so painful and frightening (and is still so open) that we never allowed ourselves to go near the point of injury.

The hard cast of RESENTMENT keeps the wound alive, while also hiding it from us.

The poet David Whyte says that forgiveness is so difficult because — in the process of forgiving — we must approach the original injury all over again, and engage with "the raw center of it".

He writes:

"To approach forgiveness is to close in on the nature of the hurt itself."

In other words, before you can free yourself from the pain, you have to go back to that pain. You must take off that protective cast of resentment, and look at the injury.

This is so difficult to do, but it must be done. This is the step that cannot be skipped. This is the work behind forgiveness, and it's hard work, but it has to be done.

That said, I beg of you not to do it alone. Find somebody to talk to, and to share your process with. Be certain that you are in a safe place, emotionally, and that you are supported. Only then, very carefully, can you peel back the protective cast of resentment, and start to work on the original injury. Only through that work can your true forgiveness begin.

As David Whyte writes:

"Forgiveness is a skill, a way of preserving clarity, sanity, and generosity in an individual life…a way of shaping the mind for a future we want for ourselves."

What is the future that you want for yourselves, Dear Ones?

I know the future I want for myself, and I believe that absolute forgiveness is the only way I will ever get there.

But I won't skip any of the steps along that path, and I hope you won't, either.

Thank you, and god bless you all for sharing this space with me.


ps — and thank you again to Iyanla Vanzant, for her guidance and wisdom on this important subject. Again, I recommend her book FORGIVENESS to anyone who needs support on this matter:

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall