Why Forgiving Is So Hard
February is celebrated around the world as the month of love.
One of the most valuable ways to live in a state of love is to repair relationship drama through forgiveness.
As a married couple, we have reflected upon our own challenges to forgive and have come to realize there are many complex dynamics that make forgiving such a challenge. Ways that hinder forgiveness may include:
- holding on to the grudge, thinking it will somehow punish the other person so we can feel righteous;
- hoping we will be protected from getting hurt again;
- believing that fairness and justice must be served, since the other person was wrong; and/or
- thinking that forgiving will excuse the behavior that caused us so much pain in the first place.
None of these obstacles really work because, in many cases, the other person has moved on from the situation while you are still in the drama!
When you hold blame or resentment and are unable to forgive, your spirit can become bitter and fearful. With this as your inner emotional state, you are seeding the anxiety that fuels the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). This bitterness hurts you more than anyone else in the long run.
We know that you want to feel loved and appreciated, as do all human beings. But if you hold a grudge, and cling to such thoughts and feelings, you are harming yourself, when the other person often has long forgotten what happened. You will also keep the negative energy alive—whether that energy is outwardly expressed or only held silently within your own mind and spirit.
What we know about forgiveness, as the character Ted explains in The Power of TED*, is that “forgiveness is giving up the hope of having a better past.” Letting go of the unrealistic hope of righting the past creates an opening to forgive and creating a new future.
You never know the motives or situations that are behind another person’s persecuting words or behavior. All you know is, as a Creator, you have the power to choose your response to a difficult situation or person. You can view them and the situation as a Challenger from which you can discern your own “lessons learned.”
Forgiveness is not about being passive in the face of injustice, abuse, or condoning the wrong actions of others. Forgiveness requires great courage to let go of your own inner judgements and focus on seeing the other as a Creator in their own right, while not approving of their hurtful external behavior.
And, forgiving yourself may be the most difficult of all. Holding onto self-persecuting thoughts restricts your heart and prevents you from realizing your true essence as a Creator. When you let go of your inner scorecard, you can begin to nurture your inner Creator. As you put down the mantel of judgment and resentments, you make an opening for your Creator essence to arise.
One final point. If you cannot forgive now, set an intention that you will forgive when you are ready. Setting the intention to forgive, sometime in the future, can help thaw the negative energy that keeps your relationship drama active.
Be patient with yourself as you begin this powerful practice and free yourself from the bondage of living in an unforgiving past. By doing so, you can free your energy and spirit to turn toward the future with more resilience and resourcefulness.
Our wish for you is that you learn to let go of obstacles to your love, toward yourself and others. The world certainly needs all the love we can generate for our own good, and the good of the world.