I am reading another interesting book on forgiveness at the moment and it is making me contemplate the subject anew as I often do. I know for a fact premature forgiveness that does not take on board or in some way seems to excuse perpetrators of abuse can be detrimental to the recovery of our true selves. We live in a culture that tends to defend against intense emotions telling us that to be sane we have to ‘play it cool’. Its very much part of the ocker (or Australian culture I grew up in) this disparaging kind of ‘cool’ or looking askance upon tenderness, sensitivity, deep soul anguish or longing. I’m actually watching a new season of The Bachelor in Australia at the moment and one of the girls who just left the programme after being rejected has been dubbed “a stage 5 clinger” on social media as she fell hard for this year’s bachelor. Admittedly she is young and wide eyed, but she is also golden, honest and open and expressive in her feelings and it kinda bites me to hear her described in this way.
Anyway I have gone a bit off track but the thing is in our culture you aren’t allowed to be excessive or tender in any way… its seen as a sign of madness and this is even if you have been driven to excess or emotional overload by abuse or trauma that would drive anyone half mad. Things are slowly changing in our awareness but its still very hard to be authentic in this culture and not be roasted in some way.
When it comes to forgiveness its appears to me that anger and rage have to be felt towards those who hurt us, we need to know what happened was detrimental and had bad effects but holding onto it too intensely although perfectly understandable can also obscure the wider picture and the more honest reality of what a perpetrator suffered in their own life, since they were also a victim at some stage. In the end forgiveness is to let ourselves off the hook not the other person and that said its not even necessary for some. Some people can hold onto not forgiving and be happy about it. That is fine but for others it can damage us.
For me the anger we feel at abuse or disregard is a message to us from our True Self about what we can and will and will not tolerate. Sadly in the end we dictate how we will be treated by others by what we are willing to accept. If we don’t feel we have the right to stand up for ourselves or are somehow ‘mad’ or ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ for doing so we will never have good boundaries and our immune systems as well as our physical and psychological and mental and emotional health will suffer as a result.
In the end whether or not we forgive is up to us. For me I have felt in my own journey moments after intense grief of coming to a point of greater and deeper clarity as to why I was treated by someone as they did. Often there was no malice or intent, often it was ignorance or psychic blindness that led them to treat me as they did, or else they split off part of their vulnerable self and projected it onto me or judged me without looking any deeper than a surface level of morality or superficial interpretations of wrong or right. Seeing such things has helped me to have better boundaries. It means I don’t have to cut away as much as I used to. And at times lately I feel my soul flooded in the deepest forgiveness as I see the mistake at the heart of things that is both multigeneration and collective. Its hard to express in words but those moments of transcendent forgiveness alter me deeply and restore me to a place of peace that would never have been possible for me as long as I held onto thoughts of anger or vengeance towards perpetrators.