You know when you’re thinking about something and all of the sudden it pops up everywhere? I know when my ex and I were trying to have a baby, I would feel like every single commercial I saw was about pregnancy tests and diapers, and I’d see pregnant women and moms with little babies EVERYWHERE. This has happened to me SO many times in my life, and it’s happening again right now. As the title to this post alludes, I’m seeing stuff about forgiveness all over the place right now, and I’m thinking it’s no coincidence.
When I went to see my favourite author Brené Brown speak in Nashville in August, she mentioned something about forgiveness that really resonated with me. I don’t want to paraphrase what she said on stage, so I’ll quote from her book Rising Strong where she quotes the Archbishop Desmond Tutu as saying:
“To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are all part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: The depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger. However, when I talk of forgiveness, I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person. A better person than one being consumed by anger and hatred. Remaining in that state locks you in a state of victimhood, making you almost dependent on the perpetrator. If you can find it in yourself to forgive, then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator. You can move on, and you can even help the perpetrator to become a better person, too.”
I LOVE this concept – the idea that forgiving someone isn’t condoning their behaviour or letting them off the hook, but rather unshackling ourselves from the label of victim and from the person who made that label a reality. It is so easy to be full of hate and anger and to buy right into this victim status. I remember when my ex first left last year, I would tell people (like EVERYONE who would listen lol) all about how he had left me for a young girl he met on the internet who lived in another country. I TOTALLY bought into my victim status and people felt seriously sorry for me, and I identified with that and felt somehow better because of it. After seeing Brené speak, I realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favours by being an angry victim, and that it was time to work towards forgiveness.
So this has become a new way of living for me, or at least I’m continuously working towards achieving it 🙂 Of course being upset, hurt, frustrated, betrayed, disappointed, devastated, etc. by others is an unavoidable part of life, but how we deal with these feelings and situations is what makes us who we are. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be authentic in how we feel – being hurt sucks and I’m not suggesting that you forgive someone before you’re ready. This isn’t about pushing through a problem, it’s not about being inauthentic to yourself, and it’s not about acquiescing to another; it’s about a new way of thinking about forgiveness that allows you to accept what has happened, decide you can rise above, and forgive for the sake of freeing your spirit and soul.
I love these two screen shots from Instagram below. The one by @belongtolove is so spot on…what we’re conditioned to think it means to forgive and what it SHOULD mean to forgive. And @sacredsoulliving says it all when he says forgiveness is love.
Here are some other great quotes about forgiveness from some of my favourite humanitarians and visionaries:
So I say make the choice to be STRONG and forgive – it’s not always easy, but I can promise you that your body, mind and soul will thank you. In my most recent relationship struggle with Ghost Guy, I never really felt angry about what happened when he disappeared, just incredibly hurt and confused. As a result, I never really thought about needing to forgive him, because I just thought I’d move past it. Oddly enough, I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately, and writing this post has made me realize that I have to consciously work towards accepting that apology that I never got from him. And also forgiving myself for obviously making such a huge error in judgment, and forgiving him for screwing me over royally…clearly I still have a bit of work to do with this one lol 😉 but I’ll get there and it’ll be with a full heart and free spirit! XO