Can we forgive and forget?
© By Marion Brownlie Author of Facing Demons
The Aramaic word for “forgive” means literally to “untie.”
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which the perceived victim, yourself, undergoes a change in feelings and attitude. You can’t forgive if you choose to hold feelings of revenge, resentment, anger, jealousy, neediness, fear, judgment or blame. Forgiveness is about letting go of your negative emotions around any particular event or happening.
Just deciding to forgive someone does not necessarily mean that it happens within you. It has to happen in the heart as well as the head. Unless you go within and heal the emotion and change your thought process around the upsetting event then it will not move on. Many think that if they say “I forgive” that forgiving has happened. Unless deeper issues are dealt with and healed then the emotions will become suppressed to the extent they are no longer quite so conscious and become forced into your cellular memory. It takes a lot of energy to keep them suppressed there. It is through the action of suppressing these stresses that ‘dis-ease’ is often created.
When you find it very difficult to forgive someone their actions then it also means that you are judging them. You are judging them from your own perspective or map of the world. We can never truly know another’s path or what has lead them to behave in a certain way. We can never expect to ‘like’ everyone just as we do not like and condone certain actions or behaviours or others. We can however change how we view them. After all the only person you can change is yourself. Stand back and allow the other person to be who they are just as you allow yourself to be who you are. There is a very positive saying that helps tremendously with this “there but for the grace of God go I”.
Just using a simple saying like this can transform the old energy you have been projecting. This then allows you to move on to greater self-healing and forgiveness.
It is never about any other person, it is all about yourself. First and foremost we must honour ourselves. Holding resentments and negative emotion is not honouring the self, it is a grand way to destroy yourself. We cannot judge another’s path or their reason for being. The only person we are truly answerable for our self.
I will share a bit of a personal story here about the lesson of forgiving.
At the time I was feeling very sorry for myself and struggling to forgive everyone who had contributed to the following situation. I had learnt to meditate a few years earlier with great results so thought it prudent that I begin this practice again and start to deal honestly with myself about how I was handling the this ‘new life’ of mine. The bottom line was that I wasn’t and that became more obvious as I dealt into my thoughts feelings and emotions around my separation, lack of child support and family contact and so on.
Excerpt: Marion Brownlie | Facing Demons
My ankle, which had been fractured, reacted to the stress I suffered at this time and chronic arthritis set in. I had to be very careful how I got up in the morning as I could easily buckle and collapse with the pain. Once again I was off to see a doctor. He recommended a CAT scan to see what was going on. The results
confirmed what I had always known, my foot had not been set back in the correct position. They also showed a bone that had never been put back in the right place when it was broken. The doctor said it must have just floated around until it had settled where it was. The scan also showed very advanced deterioration through arthritis. Strong anti-inflammatory drugs were prescribed and they would stiffen the joint so that it would be unmovable. This would need to be done in about a year’s time as they thought that by then the pain would be unbearable and drugs would not be able to control it. It was shattering news to me.
I hated the idea of taking any medical pill, especially anti-inflammatory pills because they have an extremely destructive effect on the digestive system and liver. I had a sneaking suspicion that what was happening with my ankle was similar to what had happened with my wrists when they had become inflamed. It was my body manifesting my thought processes and emotions. It was letting me know that something was not right.
I bought myself a plaque to hang on the wall to use as a daily
reminder to myself that I wasn’t alone.
Lord help me to remember
that nothing is going to
happen to me today that
You and I together can’t handle
I tipped the pills down the toilet and prayed to God for healing. I also took a realistic look at how I was managing my personal problems. I had usually turned to my mother to discuss my problems with. However, now I was no longer able to do this as I could not afford the telephone bill. I came to the conclusion that I had put myself in this situation and it was time for me to rely on my own judgment. For the first time in my life I took total responsibility for
what I was doing and thinking. My ankle began to improve remarkably.
Within a few months I could walk on it with minimal pain.
End of excerpt.
The long and short of it was that the arthritis disappeared and the ankle became pain free. Just few weeks ago, even though I am not a runner 23years after the above event, I came third in the Alstonville 5km fun run, for my age group, on that leg that has an ankle that for all medical reports I shouldn’t have been. The only time I feel pain in the ankle now is if I let emotional issues get the better of me.
To forgive you need to untie the bindings and loosen yourself from the other person’s problems. Your hatred has tied you to the person, you think is responsible for your pain. They have not caused your pain, you have chosen to feel it. Your forgiveness enables you to start walking away from him or her and the pain. Forgiveness is yourself and not the other party. Freeing yourself through forgiveness is like freeing yourself from chains of bondage or from prison. Why allow yourself to be destroyed by someone else’s shortcomings.. There is no personal coast to you by being forgiving. As time passes, when you forgive, the other person will recede in your memory. However you can’t force yourself to forget. Trying to force yourself to forget just causes suppression of these feelings, it is like trying to force an issue. Forgiving allows for a gentle forgetting even of the most traumatic events.
Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behaviour. Forgiveness prevents their behaviour from destroying your heart.