Forgiveness is a religious concept that society believes can liberate an individual in the face of irreparable damage. It has taught us that forgiveness can relieve you of anger, emotional suffering and assist in letting go of negative emotions to move forward with the healing process. It’s a great concept but very challenging when it comes to exercising actual virtue; especially when the evil inflicted by someone else has caused so much pain and trauma.
Everyday is a struggle for a lot of us emotionally and mentally in general. We all strive to be the best person we can be. However, the daily struggle to deal with even external things such as our careers, jobs, family and finances can make us restless to the point where it becomes an internal struggle to meet the end goal of living a well-balanced happy life. When you mix in an act of betrayal, deception or deliberate harm, enters a whirlwind that sends you into total emotional abyss. The reason, people find forgiveness to be such a difficult process is because it’s constantly being drilled into us why we need to suppress our pain, thoughts and feelings. We’re told that in exchange for pardoning and showing compassion to the evil-doer first – the outcome will be everlasting happiness for ourselves. Bullshit. As a wise man once put it–forgiveness sounds like a great idea until it has to be practiced.
Is forgiveness overrated? Not quite. But it isn’t the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, aching, quick over-the-counter emotional medicine many project it to be either. It has drawbacks and it’s time we start to acknowledge this crucial fact. It’s a problem when forgiveness becomes a requisite. It’s just as toxic, unwise and harmful as the act of betrayal itself. To be constantly pressured and fed the ideology that in order to heal and move forward from our hurt, we have to set it aside and turn our pain into a commodity rather than an actual feeling, deepens the wound. Wounds of betrayal can become so submerged in our subconscious mind that they might be difficult to extract, especially more you suppress it. It’s usually because we aren’t being allowed to fully acknowledge our struggle through a genuine life difficulties. It takes time and effort to overcome pain, both physical and emotional. You can’t time these sorts of things. Anyone who tells you different isn’t being honest. When something bad happens, we should be allowed to have negative thoughts and feelings about it because that’s how we understand the world.
The bottom line is that life is wonderful from time to time, but it’s also tragic. Things happen. We get hurt and the people we love get hurt; lots of times by other people. If we are told that we’re only allowed to have positive thoughts about our hurt, then these realities can strike us even more intensely when they happen—and they will happen. Anger is a legitimate response to being hurt. Sadness helps us process tragedy. Forgiveness has to be intentional in order to be achieved. It is a voluntary practice that has to be made soley by the individual not outside influences. If it isn’t intentional then it should not be forced. The inner change necessary to achieve forgiveness starts with the person learning to practice various solutions and responses until they find one that works for them. It’s the only way a person can cope with their pain without risking any real-life consequences. It is being able to accept how you feel and that it is your right. It’s the first step in learning to understand how to balance your anger and channel your thoughts which will ultimately determine how you think, feel and behave towards yourself and other people. This is how you are able to start caring for yourself in very realistic terms and moving forward from past hurt and pain. It leads to a permanent attitude.
The concept of forgiveness goes much further than Jesus and the words you’ll say and has everything to do with acceptance and ongoing practice. Forgiveness and the personal growth that follows doesn’t feel good if you’re cruel to yourself in creating it.