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Day 2 On forgiveness and love

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Homestead Hermit, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. Homestead Hermit

    Homestead Hermit Peer Supporter

    This topic came out of nowhere as I was attempting to reply to a thread, but some very important things were brought up, so I thought I'd post it as a separate topic:

    I've struggled much over the years to figure out what love really means to me. I still haven't come to a complete answer, but the closest I've felt (for me) is acceptance. Not necessarily agreeing or having commonalities, but having a mutual acceptance of each other. I've broken off ties with some because I didn't feel that mutual acceptance, didn't feel like that other person was honestly interested in me and my life and was only keeping contact out of social norms (especially when it comes to family). I hate to say it, but I also wasn't feeling the love and decided awhile back it's not worth it to maintain those facades when it's not what is honest to my soul.

    I've also pondered what love "feels" like. To me, it feels effortless, organic, and natural. It's not to say there are not negative feelings, arguments, etc. But an enormous feeling of WANTING and KNOWING you will be with that person through anything. I recently broke off a best-friendship (for the 2nd time) simply because it didn't feel right. I discovered I had no interest in this person being in my life and might have been trying to maintain it simply because we've had a history together over 20+ years and that's what you do - you fight for it. And there was no other way to explain why I didn't want to be a part of her life anymore except that it FELT wrong :( And I have huge guilt over it.

    Forgiveness is also something I've pondered. I think I've only ever truly forgiven one person in my life, my mother, for her alcoholism. I suppose I have the wrong idea of what forgiveness is? To me, everyone in every relationship is doing the best they can and, to me, no one is actually wrong. Even when I've felt hurt by comments or actions, I think "they are being themselves, sharing their opinion, not meaning to hurt on purpose...they have done nothing WRONG therefore there is no reason to forgive. Plus, I'm highly sensitive and the hurt is most likely all on my end anyway."

    I'm not sure if this means I'm taking the blame for always being in the wrong? I suppose as a goodist, this could be true. I will ALWAYS blame myself before I blame anyone else. Because that might hurt their feelings. And, in turn, it would hurt my feelings.

    So what IS true forgiveness?
     
  2. MSZ812

    MSZ812 Well known member

    I can't speak to everything you brought up, but I've always loved CS Lewis's words on forgiveness...

    "Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive."

    Some people (myself, in particular) have looked at forgiveness and said: "Absolutely not! They hurt me too much to let it go. They've done irreparable damage to me, and I can't let them off the hook!"
    Others, perhaps like yourself, put much less stock in the idea that forgiveness is an important virtue. "They didn't mean to hurt me", "they were just being themselves". Those sentiments downplay the reality that people do incredible harm to others, whether it be on purpose or simply without regard for other's feelings. Those who refuse to forgive and those who believe that forgiveness is unnecessary take a similar position in that they repress emotions. A great burden is lifted for both the offender and the victim when forgiveness happens. I've experienced that with my father. I held a grudge against him for many years after splitting up with my mom. I wouldn't even entertain the idea of forgiveness. I realized that I wanted to hold onto that anger because it gave me the moral high ground. I suffered, and he suffered. It wasn't until my heart was softened that I decided to forgive his past mistakes and move forward, working on a new relationship with him. This quote, which I had heard several times, I can personally attest to...

    "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." - Lewis Smedes

    I wish you luck, and I'm thankful that you are on this program to become pain-free!

    - Matt
     
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  3. Homestead Hermit

    Homestead Hermit Peer Supporter

    I suppose one of my biggest hurdles is learning HOW to forgive. My mind can't even grasp what that entails and what it should feel like.
    Those sentiments downplay the reality that people do incredible harm to others, whether it be on purpose or simply without regard for other's feelings. Those who refuse to forgive and those who believe that forgiveness is unnecessary take a similar position in that they repress emotions. A great burden is lifted for both the offender and the victim when forgiveness happens.
    Thanks for pointing out that both views repress emotions...I think that is the biggest aspect of all this.

    Something I've struggled with for so long is whether it is better to stay in friendships/relationships with those who continually hurt me (whether intentional or not) or to find people who feel more organic, who lift me up, those who I can look up to and guide me closer to the person I'd like to become.

    I hold a guilt complex for leaving those who continually hurt me over and over (even writing that is hard...I naturally want to say "those who I am continuously hurt by by being a sensitive person"). But a goal I've made for myself in 2017 is to direct my focus, energy, and love towards those who genuinely seem interested in me and having a relationship with me instead of wasting so much energy on those I continually struggle with, no matter who's "fault" it is. I'm beginning to read the signs better, to observe actions of people to see whether they will be a healthy influence in my life (and I in theirs).

    Not to get too dramatic, but as an example...I recently broke off a friendship (that put my TMS anxiety symptoms in full swing) for the 2nd time. My internal warning bell went off when she told me what she needed was "someone to continually forgive her for what she says because she can't be accountable for what she has said or what she will say." I know in my heart I will be continually hurt by her comments, but it seemed she needed someone to point out to her every time she said hurtful things because that's who she is. I felt it would be a vicious cycle and I my heart wasn't up to the task :(

    So, again...is it healthy and even WISE to move on to relationships that are mutually beneficial, especially spiritually and in a heart space, rather than depleting energy constantly forgiving those who are not able to be what you know you NEED?
     
  4. Homestead Hermit

    Homestead Hermit Peer Supporter

    One other question I've seen somewhere in the forums: Rather than concentrate on their negative qualities and all the ways they hurt you, focus on positive traits.
    Those sentiments downplay the reality that people do incredible harm to others, whether it be on purpose or simply without regard for other's feelings. Those who refuse to forgive and those who believe that forgiveness is unnecessary take a similar position in that they repress emotions. A great burden is lifted for both the offender and the victim when forgiveness happens.
    I think that is great for short term times, like holidays and family get-togethers. But should it be long-term? Do you intentionally put yourself in the path of the lion just to say you can? To test how great your forgiveness skills are?

    Or will it just wear you down in time?

    Sorry my rants are so long...I'm a hopeful writer and feel I could write about anything forever, lol. Thanks to those of you who take the time to read and/or reply to my ponderings :)
     
  5. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    There are some good videos on Yutube about forgiving ourselves.

    I like Homestead Hermit's suggestion of thinking about our positive traits. I think we tend to give some people more praise than they deserve. That can be fine for dogs, but not most people.

    I like this quote from actress Anne Hathaway:

    “I live my life with love. I live my life with compassion. I live my life hoping the best for absolutely everyone, no matter how they feel about me. And when you live that way, it's amazing how beautiful every day can be.”
     
    MSZ812 likes this.
  6. dear Homestead Hermit

    I noticed the word "forgiveness" in the heading and felt like asking something that may sound strange, not sure...

    I wonder about how NOT to forgive!?

    am currently visiting my mother who's been abusing me emotionally as long as I remember myself and is doing so now during this visit with an extra force.
    yesterday the situation got so bad I thought for the second time in my life: this is enough. I must break off any contact.
    but today, as she got her pain-body (Eckart Tolle's term for extreme sadness & discontentment) out and is almost tolerable again, to my nearly- shame (??) I feel I already forgave... I know I must be strong and will certainly not just forget it because it is a life-long painful problem BUT I already feel some sort of emotional light shining through, erasing it all, kindness healing me, strength of the Positive overpowering all what's wrong...

    I am an unhealable optimist, perhaps it's just that simple:happy:

    good luck to you and happy recovery :)
     
  7. Homestead Hermit

    Homestead Hermit Peer Supporter

    Me being one who is apt not to forgive, I would assume forgiving in ANY situation is more healthy than not forgiving. Even if the person who is being forgiven doesn't "deserve" it.

    I've heard it said that just because you forgive someone doesn't mean they need to know you've forgiven them, doesn't mean they need or should be in your life. I see it as a way to release emotions and move on, regardless of whether you choose to have a relationship with that person or not. I feel in some (or even most) situations it is best NOT to have certain people in your life. But forgiveness is the key...

    The aunt who recommended Dr. Sarno to me has said her pain only decreased after her abusive, narcissistic mom went into a nursing home and ceased altogether after she passed away, even though my aunt believed wholeheartedly in the TMS path :(

    I've found, even after I've decided to break off relationships that are not lifting me up, I still struggle with symptoms because of worrying. It's almost as if the person is still playing an active role in my life. But knowing I will not have to devote energy to someone who is not serving a positive role in my life is still a weight off my shoulders...
     

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