Forgiveness Day 4: Initial Realizations

Many misconceptions surround forgiveness, which is why it can be difficult or even impossible. Realizations help us see forgiveness for what it is and how to move forward. Realizations also help us have an accurate self-image, another obstacle to forgiveness.

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The first thing to realize is that forgiveness is for your benefit, not the other person. Letting someone know that you have forgiven them is a separate decision from actually forgiving them, and should only be pursued if they previously pursued forgiveness from you. Telling people you forgive them before they realize they have done something hurtful only comes across as haughty and prideful.

The next part of forgiveness is establishing a timeline. Do not make yourself forgive in the same day if you are not ready, but have a goal in mind. Every hurt will take a different amount of time to process. Some hurts take minutes while others can take years to sort through. This is where we realize that forgiveness is a journey, not a transaction. The destination is peace, harmony, and joy. All of the anger, hate, or resentment you feel towards the person has no effect on him/her and a negative effect on you. According to science, the unforgiveness is probably creating some health problems as well.

Forgiveness is changing how you feel about the past, while trust is about the future. Forgiveness and trust are siblings, but not always in agreement. By saying you forgive someone, you are saying that they have no control over you. You are not saying everything is okay in the relationship or that you even want to have a relationship. Again those are separate decisions. The sole decision to focus on is your happiness. Do you want it back? That desire happiness will be your strength through the process.

Question: Do you realize what forgiveness is and is not?