How To Forgive – And Why You Might Resist
Forgiveness is a living breathing energy. It’s always around. It’s in the air, so to speak. Accessible to all.
So while it’s important to know HOW to forgive, it’s more important to first understand why you might resist it. Because once you know why you resist it, then it becomes much easier to actually TAP INTO that incredible, invisible force of forgiveness that can heal so much in a person’s life.
Here’s why we find ourselves reluctant to forgive:
1. Seen as a weakness.
If I have to forgive, that means I’ve lost. I’ve been defeated in some way. I really am guilty. Somebody else ‘got’ me – or I got myself.
And now, in my defeat, all I can do is lick my wounds by forgiving myself. I’ve failed.
2. Seen as arrogance.
“Who do you think you are to just forgive yourself after what you’ve done?!!”
“You think you can get off the hook that easy? You haven’t suffered enough!”
You still need to pay for your crimes. Or, somebody else still needs to pay for THEIR crimes.
Maybe God can forgive, and maybe even others can forgive you, but you can’t possibly be so arrogant as to believe you can forgive yourself.
3. Seen as a shallow cop-out.
“You can’t just forgive yourself. That would be too easy. It’s too simple. What would happen in the world if you could just go around committing sins and then just forgive yourself?”
Forgiveness has no depth or substance. It doesn’t exonerate you from what you’ve done. It can’t possibly right the wrong.
4. Brings up pain.
I’ve worked hard to stuff down my pain. And I’m trying real hard to not feel it now. If I forgive, that’s going to open up a Pandora’s box of all kinds of feelings that I REALLY don’t want to feel.
Too much will be stirred up. I don’t want to be reminded of the humiliation, the uncomfortability, the pain that’s down there in my emotional abyss. I don’t want to muddy the waters because the silt has all settled at the bottom. Better to leave it there.
My self-punishment is just too painful.
5. Afraid of how I’ll change.
When you forgive, something in you dies. Some part IN you that’s not really a part OF you will die.
Maybe some judgments, or blame or righteousness. Maybe a little bit of control or manipulation. Maybe a little part of my pity, or victimhood, or martyrhood.
But I NEED to feel like a victim. Sure, it hurts. Victimhood is a pain factory. But I’m comfortable with the pain of being a victim. I know it well. What kind of a person would I be if I wasn’t a victim? That’s too scary.
Also, something will be born when I forgive. Some freedom, or some dream. Some hope. Perhaps some happiness.
What if I start feeling too good once I forgive? Then I might forget what happened. And then it could happen again. I’m not willing to take that chance.
6. Afraid of demands and expectations.
If I forgive, then I’ll have to be perfect and never ever ‘do it’ again. I can never repeat my past mistakes. And I don’t know if I can do that.
Or, I’ll have to reconcile with someone else. And I really don’t want to. I want to be DONE with my ex-spouse, or my mother, or whomever. I don’t ever want to see them again.
Or I don’t want to let my mother off the hook. I really was wronged. If I forgive, won’t that make it okay – what she did to me?
7. Afraid of intimacy and caring.
Love by itself is scary enough. But fears around intimacy and caring are just off the charts. Because if you get too close, then you might see my secrets. You might see ‘the real me’.
And if you only knew how I really am, you’d run away in horror. You’d be aghast. You would have nothing to do with me.
So I HAVE to keep this protective barrier in place. I can’t possibly forgive myself, because then the barrier might be breached. And I could end up all alone.
I need the protective barrier to remind myself of why I can’t get too close to those I love.
Now, ironically, all seven of these reasons CAN be true.
You are at risk of losing the barrier that keeps you separated from others. You might end up placing demands on yourself, and unrealistic expectations. And something inside you may die. Some part of your blame, or righteousness.
And yes, the pains and memories of the past will need to come up if you want them gone. You will have to feel them as they’re leaving.
Likewise, you could possibly be hurt again once you forgive. You’re still a human.
Now, forgiving does not – by itself – make you forget. But you no longer have to be IMPRISONED by those memories.
And people have indeed used forgiveness as both a weakness, and as arrogance. But you certainly don’t HAVE to. The choice i salways up to you.
So understand that while any of these reasons can be legitimate resistances, they don’t have to be. And they certainly can’t stand up to the power and the force and the magic of the energy of forgiveness.
Which I won’t get into now. You most likely have a good idea of how valuable it is.
But if you’re seriously thinking about tapping into this energy, then it would help to first look at these resistances listed above.
Because if you don’t find and release your own resistance, it will block the effectiveness of forgiveness. You might go through the motions, but your heart won’t really be in it.
You’ll hold yourself back. And you won’t experience the full wonder of truly forgiving yourself or forgiving another.
However, once you’ve ‘owned’ your resistance, then head on over to –
Thanks to Mark I Myhre for this excerpt.