Forgiveness is usually something that comes pretty easy to me. Forgetting not so much. Things stick in my mind for a long time. Maybe because I’m quite the deep thinking type. I can however be a bit stubborn and it seems that with age also comes a new feeling of “I want to hold a grudge and be mad” for a little while. It’s a newer and a slightly odd feeling to have for me. Yet at the same time, it feels good. It feels empowering and protective. And it feels peculiarly natural. That all sounds rather contradictory I know, but maybe this is one of those things in life that just has more gray areas.
I really believe that we must practice forgiving. That it is necessary to move on. It’s necessary for healing and growth.
But maybe, just maybe, in the past I have forgiven too easily and too quickly. Rushing the process too much and not giving myself the opportunity to really process the situation, learn from it, and heal.
But we tend to live in a world that is either all or nothing.
We either forgive right away or we don’t forgive. Where is the middle ground? What if you need to just hold onto the anger a little as your pain subsides? Allow yourself to let these feelings be natural to you. Give yourself some protective space to go through it all. And then once you make your way through it all then you can be ready to forgive. Can we grant ourselves permission to do that?
Forgiveness comes at different times. That time will vary from situation to situation. Don’t force yourself into it. Acknowledge that the end goal will have to include forgiveness but you don’t have to rush it.
You’ll find it will come easier and more naturally this way.
Because I’m a thinker and my mind works in ways of processes, I’m going to relate forgiveness to the process of grief.
Referenced on grief.com, the five stages of grief are such:
I was listening to a TED Talk one evening and the speaker said something that really stuck with me. She spoke of depression and sadness but she spoke of it from a new perspective. It was described as a necessary part of healing that we needed to go through. As a result, creating a space for us to hull up and heal our wounds. To get to acceptance, we have to go through depression or sadness. It made sense in a way that our minds use these spaces of sadness as a way of learning, adapting, and growing from them so that we can evolve into a stronger version and experience more joy and stability later in life.
I relate forgiveness with the fifth step, acceptance.
We have to go through the shock of the situation happening. Then acknowledge that we’re angry because we were hurt or betrayed. After that comes the torturing process of all the “what ifs” thinking (this is where I can sometimes get stuck and need a little push through). Then comes the crappy sitting with the sadness part. Then comes forgiveness.
Forgiveness is at the end of this process.
(I’m not a psychologist so please understand that I am purely speaking from observation, theories, and experience). When we rush to forgive we will most likely be skipping some of those steps to get there. If we didn’t grant ourselves permission to flow through the other feelings, can we truly give forgiveness? Is forgiveness honest if it isn’t resolved? Going through the process gives us that complete and true resolution.
Maybe it is something easily forgiven in which the process will be fast. Or maybe it was a rough break up and it’s going to take a while. Either one is okay. Be okay with it. Be loving to yourself during this time (and forgive yourself for needing more time). This is part of good self-care