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Forgiveness

Forgiving Others

Forgiveness often seems to be misused by parents and society.
As often apparently practised, it allows abuse to remain hidden, and stops us being present to what is actually happening.
Also the abuser is expected to be pardoned.
There seems to be an attitude of get over it and move on.
There is societal pressure to return to previous states of supposed social harmony.
But these states are false and only imprison the abused - and, indirectly, society.

For example, abused children are expected to forgive their abusive parents.
The child is pressured to forgive, forget and move on.
But this is not healthy for various reasons.
It prevents the recovery of the child.
As Alice Miller pointed out (Wikipedia, accessed 3 July 2014), forgiveness of this kind does not allow the child to remember and feel the pain, and so release/heal it.
Instead, the resultant buried anger or hatred becomes displaced.
  • Displaced onto others - e.g. delinquency, terrorism, war. Hitler and Saddam Hussein were both parentally abused.
  • Displaced onto the next generation, where abused children can unfortunately abuse their own children.
  • Displaced into self-hatred, self-sabotage, self-harm, self-abuse - e.g. eating disorders, drug addiction, depression.
I suggest it is really important to create boundaries and distance from people and institutions which have abused you/us. Psychopaths are generally unlikely to change their behaviour and are likely to exploit to their advantage the societal pressure to forgive and move on.

Having created distance, I suggest two methods. These apply whether you have been personally abused or not - as we all live in a world where collective abuses happen. The two ways are:-

(1) Self-Healing One is the well-known tool of finding supportive environments where we can explore painful feelings and create a brighter personal future. This can be more formal, as in therapy, helplines, dedicated online forums. Or more informally with supportive people, as we go about life. So, we develop a better understanding of what forgiveness really is. As
Real Live Preacher says:

"Forgiveness is the healing of wounds caused by another. You choose to let go of a past wrong and no longer be hurt by it. Forgiveness is a strong move to make, like turning your shoulders sideways to walk quickly on a crowded sidewalk. It's your move."

Or as Jill Saward (cited at BBC, posted and accessed 6 January 2017) said:

"I believe forgiveness gives you freedom. Freedom to move on without being held back by the past."

In this way, we can transform hatred and pain.
No need to blame yourself.
We reconnect to Love!

(2) Collective Responsibility The other method is what I feel forgiveness is perhaps even more about. The world surely needs to reawaken to this. Essentially, it is about taking collective responsibility for all the sh#t in the world.

We are all interconnected - quantum physics, shamanism and mysticism says so. When things go wrong, when people, children, animals, the Earth suffer - we need to understand why. What is it that we are doing that is creating the dictators, the abusive parents, the psychos, the damaging socio-political systems? Having discovered some causes, we work the best we can to heal the collective.

Some ways that I feel society needs to change to improve world suffering and create world peace include:-
  • GNH (Gross National Happiness) - not GDP.
  • Demedicalise society. Minimise drugs. Promote complementary and alternative health. Promote self-responsibility for health. 
  • Promote natural birth. Demedicalise birth. Return childbirth into the hands of midwives and women.
  • Attachment parenting.
  • Natural family living.
  • Vegetarian diet.
  • Free women from the controlling clutches of religious, cultural and societal institutions. This includes promoting the aforementioned natural birth and demedicalising birth. It also includes stopping forced marriage, honour killings, female genital mutilation (FGM). It rather encourages women to be educated - although modern education itself needs transformation - society needs to be deschooled.
  • Environmental care, including clean renewable energy, stopping mass agriculture and associated pesticides, minimising pollution.
  • A glamorisation with modern technology, whilst severely neglecting the ancient technology that is our body and Spirit. We need to be present and connected to self, to others and to our immediate environment. We need to lead far simpler lives.
At the same time, we are always vigilant about guarding ourselves and our loved ones from further abuse. We remember to imprison or otherwise legally manage abusers - or at least somehow bring the abuse to public awareness. For example, so many positive strides have been taken in the early 21st century in the UK in socially outing child abusers, like Operation Yewtree. We also acknowledge that there are parts of ourselves that need improving and we work to that end.

So, we realise that there are abusers in our nations, our communities. And that we have inherited social narratives or patterns that are abusive. And we work hard to improve all this and ourselves for future generations. We man/woman up - we take collective responsibility.

There is a modern take on the Polynesian forgiveness practice
of Ho'oponopono that encapsulates this holistic and collective attitude to forgiveness. This is the Ho'oponopono Prayer - read more here and here. We may temporarily need to put aside any doubts about Divine Design and address Spirit:

We are responsible.
We are sorry.
Please forgive us.
There is only Love.
Thank you.


Then we practically work to establish the reality that is Love in this world.
This is a different meaning of forgiveness = collective responsibility and Love in action.
So, forgiveness must focus on self-healing and collective responsibility - and not on pardoning abusers.
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Forgiving Yourself

When it is you that has done something wrong, the focus is on taking responsibility, on self-forgiveness, and acting in the world to make amends. The Twelve Step Program was originally used for alcoholics but can be applied to other addictions, behaviours or wrongdoings. It is one suggestion for forgiving yourself. The steps originally were
:-
  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs. 
These can be adapted to your requirements.
They are taken from
Alcoholics Anonymous of Great Britain (posted 2014, accessed 16 August 2014).
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God's Forgiveness

As for seeking forgiveness from God/Goddess - as God/Goddess is Love - it is said that God/Goddess has never felt aggrieved by your actions. The love of God/Goddess is constant. This is not an excuse to behave as you want! You need to take responsibility for where you are - see 'Forgiving Yourself' above.

Anyway, God/Goddess always loves you.

A pink rose candle that is lit

This article has three parts:-

1 - Forgiving Others

2 - Forgiving Yourself

3 - God's Forgiveness

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Also see:-

Self-Love

Success for Society

Culture of Love

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