Some things you have to experience to believe.
I’d heard about the power of forgiveness for a long time before I tried it. I didn’t see how it could make that much of a difference, really. And if I did mentally try to forgive someone, it was always half-hearted, like trying to make yourself like kale. I knew that kale was good for me, and that it would be helpful to eat it, but that bitter taste drove me away. I had to disguise the kale with a lot of other stuff to make it edible. So really, I was just choking it down.
Same with forgiveness. I didn’t really want to forgive say, someone like my ex, because it was all his fault. To forgive him would mean he got away with it. It would be condoning his behavior. I would be a victim all over again.
Now I can see that all that finger-pointing kept me from owning my part in anything ever. By projecting blame outward, I didn’t have to examine my own behavior. I used other people’s bad behavior to justify my own. He deserved it! And then I became this little gremlin inside, always plotting to undermine someone or manipulate people to join in my finger-pointing. And because I was a gremlin inside, I felt guilty. My thoughts were anything but pure.
Guilt is a bitter pill to swallow. Worse that straight kale, no dressing.
Everyone chooses their own path to forgiveness. AA talks about letting go of resentments. I follow A Course in Miracles, which tells you that forgiveness is the way to nirvana, basically. And who doesn’t want that? It teaches how to let go of blame completely by seeing other people as completely worthy of love. That took a lot of reading and practice from me, but I’m getting there.
I’ve found that forgiving is entirely in my own self-interest. And it’s true! It really works. I feel so much lighter and happier, now that I’ve set down the burden of attack and guilt. Ultimately, it allows me to forgive myself. It’s like a process for me. I forgive someone, and then I have a memory of something I did that I found unforgivable. Now, however, I see myself with the same compassion I extended to the person I forgave. I see it in the same light of forgiveness that I shined on someone else.
So all forgiveness is really for you. When you can see yourself with compassion, the gremlin goes away, and all that’s left is the beautiful light within you, shining out into a world that needs it.