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Girl in Tutu
Girl in fenced garden
Woman healing self
Man seeks forgiveness
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.
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:-
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.
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.
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:-
They are taken from Alcoholics Anonymous of Great Britain (posted 2014, accessed 16 August 2014).
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.
|This article has three parts:-
1 - Forgiving Others
2 - Forgiving Yourself
3 - God's Forgiveness
Success for Society
Culture of Love