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Matters of the Spirit, Self-Help

The Concept of Forgiveness…Human Arrogance at it’s Best

I’ve read a lot of articles about forgiveness recently, and the latest one entitled Revenge by Melodie Beattie, is probably the closest to honesty that we’re going to get. You see, I’m not sure if we actually tell the truth about our feelings when it comes to forgiving others. Melodie has tried to speak the truth to herself; she has allowed herself to feel the depth of the rage and the hurt, but she still goes on to try to find a way to forgive her transgressor in the midst of all that pain. To my mind, we’ve been sold a lot of ideas through our religious books about what we need to do to ‘earn’ God’s love, and forgiving others their transgressions against us is one of them. I suspect that a lot of the time, without even being aware of it, we are ‘forgiving’ others in order to earn a ticket into ‘heaven’. Our piety, in other words, is insurance against the wrath of God. In my world, insurance is bogus. God is part of us anyway. Divine love isn’t earned, its who we are. By returning to that love, we let go of concepts as ridiculous as forgiveness of others.

If we are really honest, we don’t actually forgive anything. To my way of seeing things, we are not able to forgive, nor is it our job to forgive. I’ve learned that we experience the other person in a truly negative way in order that we see something in ourselves; in order that we learn about an aspect of our nature that is hidden, suppressed. We are meant to feel pain and all the associated feelings of hate, revenge, anger, disgust, because that is how we meet with our hidden inner demons. The ill feelings that we have toward another is a gift, because then we can know how destructive those thoughts and ideas that are embedded within us actually are. Obsession with what someone has done to us is a meditation on our own transgressions against ourselves. If we continue obsessing throughout our lives, it means that the inner work is not finished. The concept of ‘forgiveness of others’ doesn’t exist. It’s an arrogance adopted by an untruthful personality who refuses to see the mirror of their own destructive beliefs.

So for me, forgiveness really only means one thing; we have seen the reflection of ourselves in the other person. We have owned the darkness and have transformed our own attitudes and behaviours. In other words we have forgiven ourselves. Who are we to forgive anyone? We don’t have the power to release anyone else from their darkness. Only they have that power. We are only responsible to ourselves.

I was sexually, mentally and physically abused as a child and teenager. At the age of fourteen I had a nervous breakdown because of the situation I was trapped in. I don’t forgive my father for any of it because it isn’t my job to. He was consumed with guilt until the day he died, but it was his job to understand his own nature; it was his task to discover what demons drove him. On my part, it was my job to discover what he mirrored in me, and my job to remove all beliefs about myself that caused such damage in the first place. I don’t obsess about my past anymore, and I had a truly loving relationship with my father in the last few years of his life. I knew exactly what he was and what he was capable of.  I accepted that he had another side to him that was kind and giving. But I didn’t forgive him anything, because that would have been insanely arrogant. I wasn’t better than him. How could I have been? He mirrored what lay deep in the recesses of my being. I forgave myself by transforming into the person I am today.

So…free your mind. Let go of forgiveness and get into the business of ownership. Then forgive yourself. That is what I call self love.

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About Yaz

Hi Everyone! Please check out my site. There you'll find a range of subjects on which I've expressed my world view. I always challenge myself and others to move out of their point of view and try seeing things from another perspective. Your point of view will always be there if you don't like mine! And I'd love to hear from you. Perhaps you'll shift something in me. This is the journey to the True Self and I love it. Lots of love to you all!

Discussion

24 thoughts on “The Concept of Forgiveness…Human Arrogance at it’s Best

  1. wonderful post, Yaz!!

    Posted by Linda Willows | September 17, 2012, 12:20 pm
  2. Thanks Yaz for posting this. Forgiving can be very difficult, especially when you have gone through very hard times inflicted by someone else to you. Yet, simple things can be forgiven easily if one knows that most of the times the only entity that has been hurt is our sense of ‘I’. Realizing this can help us a lot in understanding ourselves and the world. And here I don’t speak about your experience. But by not forgiving you might hold on to bad experiences with anger and resentment. Your anger and resentment will not harm your wrongdoer, these emotions will continue to harm you. I’d say that you do not really need to forgive something but it is a good practice to try to let go for your own freedom. You may say that this is easy to say for somebody who has not lived such an experience and I totally agree with you. This is a delicate subject matter and I’d like to share this poem with you:
    http://shantideva.me/2011/11/06/inter-being-the-true-nature-of-compassion/
    Metta,
    Jean-Claude

    Posted by Shantideva | September 17, 2012, 12:49 pm
    • Hello Shantideva, thank you so much for your kind and considered response to my article. This is a beautiful poem, and I understand it deeply. I feel that perhaps you have mistaken my meaning when I say that I have not forgiven my father. What I mean to say is that it is not my place to forgive, because we are all one entity, showing each other what needs to be released in the personality if we are to live in the True Self. I am aware that it is only the ‘I’ that is hurt, but I also know that we have to stop clinging to the ‘I’ if we want to live as the True Self. To stop clinging we have to let go of all our concepts that make us human. One of those concepts is ‘Forgiveness’. There is nothing to forgive, only ideas to let go of. That’s what I’m trying to say. Again, thank you for the wonderful poem. I hope others will read it too. And thank you for your care and compassion. It is much appreciated. Yaz

      Posted by yazrooney | September 17, 2012, 1:01 pm
      • Yes, I see that I have misunderstood your post. Thank you for your answer and your explanations. It would have been good if I had opened the link in the beginning of your post. This makes it all much clearer. 🙂

        Posted by Shantideva | September 17, 2012, 1:17 pm
  3. I enjoyed reading this, Yaz. It gives me alot to think about. :))) Gloria

    Posted by grannyscolorful | September 17, 2012, 5:50 pm
  4. This is something for me to ponder. So, we need to forgive ourselves not the “other”, for attracting a situation? Reminds me of the H’opononono approach to healing with the three words “I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you,” The premise is that all experiences even what is happening “out there” in the world, if we are aware of it, we are responsible as we created it. Thanks for this post, a gem.

    Posted by sufilight | September 18, 2012, 8:04 am
  5. I’ve read this, and saved it for a quiet and peaceful read. A time when I’m not so rushed. So I can absorb this and understand it better. It’s a very different way to consider not only ‘forgiveness’ but our existence.

    Posted by Chatter Master | September 18, 2012, 12:49 pm
  6. An honest post indeed, Yaz.

    I have not claimed through my telling (yet at least) that I have forgiven my father for the impact he had on my POTENTIAL, and how he CULLED my natural enthusiasm for life, my gregariousness, my wishes to perform and express. I really loved Irish Dancing though, because of all that stomping you do.

    In truth, I have tried to forgive my father – which is best done by looking at the parent I am today: outspokenly imperfect. And then, the effects I have had on my son’s life, I never meant the bad moments – of course never meant them. BUT the difference between my father & me is so distinctly that his bitter, cruel, misogynistic, hateful, Self flogged me relentlessly for 7 years with his hate/self indulgence in his manic depression/pains – never pausing to look & see what he was doing. I’ve paused – particularly when I almost took my life last year – & seen what effect I am having on the one and only human being on this earth that I love. And I have said the words “I’m sorry” (that I have had a mental breakdown/that I was so depressed before I discovered antidepressants which manage me/etc & the like, you know). I have endeavoured with my every day to give Daniel the best I can manage for him – & that is something my father did not do for me. Hence, I find it very very hard to forgive him, & no, I do not yet.

    Love your somewhat daring views on forgiveness…

    Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes | September 18, 2012, 2:54 pm
  7. Reblogged this on LifeRevelation and commented:
    I like to pass along posts that I believe in. I like to think I am helping to spread the “good news” that people can change their lives, even those who are totally lost and beyond what many think as redeemable.

    This reblog is different. I am not sure I agree with all of the writer’s concepts, but they provoked so much inner thought and contemplation that I wanted to pass it along for all of you who follow my blog. Please take some time to contemplate the ideas presented here…then comment…I am interested to know what you think.

    Be encouraged!

    Posted by stephenedwards425 | September 18, 2012, 6:00 pm
  8. I agree whole heartedly. I just want to add that if someone has hurt you repeatedly and you fear them emotionally, you don’t have to have a relationship with them. I think sometimes we feel there’s a “should” attached to letting go of the anger. Somehow we believe that when we finally let go of the anger and have found peace that we should try and have a relationship with this person. I don’t believe this is a healthy idea. It’s okay to move on and live your life without this person – not as a punishment to the person but as a way of taking care of yourself. I choose not to have relationships with malicious, hurtful people, even when those people are members of my own family. When trust is destroyed it’s best sometimes to move on rather than continually putting yourself in harm’s way, believing that with love you can make a relationship work. That’s not always true and doesn’t always happen. It’s important to know the difference.
    It’s okay, to move on. : )

    Posted by A Gripping Life | September 18, 2012, 6:20 pm
  9. My new friend I completely agree with what you wrote. Completely agree. The act of forgiveness is for me and not for the person that fucked me over. It is for me to grow from the experience and move the hell on. I was raped by my babysitter’s son when i was three years old. Yes, I was only three. But I remember clearly that my sister heard my screams, and she ran into the room where I lay and was being violated. He yelled at her and told her he would do the same to her. Even at three years old I told my sister to run away. To get away. I took the rape and the pain so that my little baby sister didn’t have to. It changed me. It hurt me. It made me who I am. It made me fiercely protective of my sister, and it made me fiercely protective of my children. I never forgave the bastard for what he did to me. As I got older it made me seek the attention of men much older than me. I was molested by a friends father at the age of 12 and 13. I never looked my age. I always looked older. I became a highly sexual person. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I do believe that I wouldn’t have become so had I not been abused. I think about my rapist, and I wonder how many other girls he hurt. I hate him.

    Posted by rheath40 | September 18, 2012, 7:53 pm
  10. My dear Yaz, I always try to save some special time to come here so that I can really take my time to read your words and really listen to what you are trying to communicate. It is never a quick glance or a casual click on the Like icon for me.

    I have been reflecting on this topic of Forgiveness for a very long time. In fact, I have never quite understood or grasped the essence of it and it has continued to perplex me as I read through many spiritual, self-help and religious books. Is it a struggle of not being strong enough, compassionate enough, or simply that I have yet to fully perceive the truth of this powerful practice – because I have seen how in the face of extreme injustice and abuse, some have managed to turn their lives around in astounding ways by learning to forgive. While others have become withered souls.

    I appreciate your perspective on this and it might be the first time I have actually seen it presented this way. It took me aback at first simply because forgiveness is so ingrained in me (though of course I am still working on the actual forgiving based on my understanding or lack of it at this time in life).
    As you said forgiveness (however we call it or whatever it may be defined and what the act actually entails) is still a necessary part of our own healing and freedom. I shall surely be reflecting on your many insights. Thank you so much for adding to my understanding on this essential yet often misunderstood aspect of life. With much love, Sharon

    Posted by aleafinspringtime | September 19, 2012, 11:07 am
  11. Toller Bericht Grüsse lieb und wünsche einen schönen Nachmittag Grüsse lieb Gislinde.

    Posted by giselzitrone | September 19, 2012, 6:15 pm
  12. well said.
    😉

    Posted by zen city | September 20, 2012, 3:55 pm
  13. Excellent post.You can forgive someone who hurts you but you can’t forget the HURT itself.Thank you for liking my post.Jalal

    Posted by jalal Michael sabbagh | September 24, 2012, 2:49 am
  14. “I was sexually, mentally and physically abused as a child and teenager. At the age of fourteen I had a nervous breakdown because of the situation I was trapped in. I don’t forgive my father for any of it because it isn’t my job to. He was consumed with guilt until the day he died, but it was his job to understand his own nature; it was his task to discover what demons drove him. On my part, it was my job to discover what he mirrored in me, and my job to remove all beliefs about myself that caused such damage in the first place. I don’t obsess about my past anymore, and I had a truly loving relationship with my father in the last few years of his life. I knew exactly what he was and what he was capable of. I accepted that he had another side to him that was kind and giving. But I didn’t forgive him anything, because that would have been insanely arrogant. I wasn’t better than him. How could I have been? He mirrored what lay deep in the recesses of my being. I forgave myself by transforming into the person I am today.”

    Your post, blog and left me breathless. Especially I carefully read this post that sign commentary. and I can say only this. problem of abuse is unfortunately ubiquitous in the world , and you are through your story again and again and again pointed to the fact that a large number of traumas and painful scars on the soul , scars that never heal. and as time goes by they are deeper and more dangerous, but the beauty of your soul expressed through this post yet won. my opinion , that people who have experienced so what , I can not forgive or forget a thank you for this wonderful post

    Posted by Stefan (maxima) | September 27, 2012, 8:02 am
  15. Yaz, I am so glad I found you. I love it when I find someone I can connect with. Eloquently put!

    Posted by coastalmom | September 30, 2012, 4:33 am
  16. Deep down I have always known this. That’s why I don’t give in to feelings of revenge and forgiveness. There’s a backlash to all this. Thanks for making it clear, Yaz! 🙂

    Posted by gladiuspoeticus | October 11, 2012, 10:34 am
  17. Hi Yaz! I’ve “landed” here, via Linda Willows… Very interesting topic and post, I do agree with you:”Forgiveness…Human Arrogance at its ‘Best'”… even though most of us don’t look for revenge, it’s hard, quite impossible to forgive and/or to forget such deep wounds of our soul… We may forget ourselves, but I’m sure it takes time, strong will and serenity to heal up… My very best and have a serene weekend!

    Posted by melanietoulouse | October 12, 2012, 9:09 am
  18. I agree with all your thoughts on forgiveness. there is nothing to forgive when we are clear about our own part in the situation. Getting back to abuse, and I have also experienced it as a tiny child, once – I realised that the abuser has always been abused himself, I could feel only compassion for the loved person who was the other half in my situation,. I can’t even bring myself to say did it to me, because that makes me victim, and that i am not.
    Forgiving ourselves would bring peace to the world, would mean the end of anger, fear and revenge and I hope it happens soon!

    Posted by valeriedavies | October 27, 2012, 2:51 am
  19. Interesting and thought provoking take on forgiveness you present here. I recently “forgave” my deceased mother for sexually abusing me when I was a child. The forgiveness to me was for me more than anyone. It was about me finding enough compassion in my soul for myself and my mother who also experienced abuse as a child. I’ll never forget what she did and I won’t ever say I forgive the actions but I forgive her soul. It allowed me to stop being angry and unhappy. Karma will decide on where my mother goes next. I hope somewhere peaceful and free of abuse.

    Posted by reflectionsonlifethusfar | November 24, 2012, 10:29 pm
  20. A friend sent me this link. I love this post and feel that this is what I’ve also been learning over the last year–all offenses are an opportunity for me to see myself. Thank you for writing this.

    Posted by Julie Ferwerda | August 14, 2013, 6:46 am

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