You may have done a lot of work in forgiveness. You are almost done.
But, there is that one person left. The one who has hurt you the most.
No matter what you do, you can’t forgive the harm.
We all have that one. We are not saints. And yet, we know our lack of forgiveness is hurting us. Not the person.
They may already be long gone from your life or even dead.
There are two steps before forgiveness that are the only way I have found to give relief.
No, it is not letting them off the hook.
The first is UNDERSTANDING.
Hard as it is to accept, most offenders are trying to make themselves feel better.
I heard someone say that even Jeffrey Dahmer killed all those boys (and ate them) because at some deep sick level, he thought it would make him feel better.
Obviously, it didn’t because he kept it up until he was finally caught.
His pitiful apology to the parents at his trial told the world how sorry he was. It was too late but it indicated that his compulsion was out of his control.
The person who injured you so badly was not out to hurt you then.
There may have been some terrible pain within them that they were trying to get rid of and you happened to be there.
You were the target.
So, all the shame and resentment you have suffered all those years has nothing to do with you.
It had to do with someone else’s pain.
Perhaps that person was mentally ill.
Or, a drunk.
Or desperate because he was unemployed.
You know the person. What was the situation at that time?
He was certainly not in his right mind.
Perhaps, not for a long time. Maybe a lifetime.
If you were passing a mental hospital and a patient was screaming obscenities at you out of a window, would you take it personally? It might upset you, but does it have any basis in reality?
I am also not forgetting that there are some people who are evil – born mean.
That is no reflection on you.
The injury you suffered had nothing to do with your reality. And yet, secretly, those of us who have not been able to forgive continually ask the question,
“What did I do wrong to provoke this? I must have been bad.”
This is particularly true of women who have been sexually abused. Especially, if the abuse came from a family member.
We ask ourselves, over and over through the years, “If someone that important did this to me, I must have provoked it, in some way deserved it.”
You didn’t. In most cases, you were too young to even understand what was going on. You were innocent. It was not your fault.
Sometimes, the offense was someone you trusted cheating you. Why would they do that? Try to understand it. Were they so lacking in money or self esteem? Were they just greedy?
Again, you know them. Why would they do it? Look at them as though you were not involved. Step away. Pretend it happened to someone else.
Why did they do it? Be an outside psychologist.
In all cases, it comes down to the basic answer. Whoever hurt you did it to make themselves feel better in some way. They probably did the same to others you don’t know. But, that is not your problem.
This introspection leads to the second point which is AWARENESS.
If you are truly aware of the motivation of the person who hurt you, you put a different spin on it for yourself. It separates you from the action.
It does not excuse them. What they did was wrong. They have to live with it, not you.
You are no longer entwined in what happened. They stand alone – individuals by themselves. With their own problem and motivation.
You had nothing to do with it.
That person is a stranger who happened into your life. Not much different than someone you read about in the paper.
A drive by shooting. Very sad but no one you know.
You happened to be in their way.
You now don’t have to forgive someone you hardly know and barely remember.
It is time to let it go and move on. If you can’t forgive – so be it. Forgive yourself for not forgiving.
Your work is done when you stop giving that person and their cruelty free rent and energy in your head.
DO NOT EVEN SPEAK THEIR NAME.
ARE YOU READY TO FORGIVE YOURSELF?
This is an excerpt from Are We Spiritual Yet?
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