More On Forgivenss

The following is taken from: McLaren, K. (2010). The Language of emotions: What your feelings are trying to tell you. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.

Pg 118:  In practice, anger and forgiveness actually work together (and often at the same time) in any real healing process.

You can’t move to forgiveness until your emotions move you consciously through stages one and two, because your emotions are the only thing in your psyche that can move energies, memories, and imbalances into your awareness.

If your pain is tucked very deeply into your unconscious (as traumas usually are), only strong and urgent emotions will be able to dislodge it.  Therefore, the movement to the true forgiveness available in stage three often requires not just anger, but rage and fury; not just fear, but terror and panic; not just sadness, but despair and suicidal urges.  Real forgiveness is not a dainty or delicate process—it’s a visceral and deeply emotive awakening from a trancelike state.  It is, in essence, a return from the dead.  Real, foundational forgiveness is a messy, loud, thrashing process of coming back from death into life.  It looks on an empathic level like those animals I helped heal as a child.  There’s shaking, kicking, grunting, trembling, and spitting—and then it’s done.

Real forgiveness isn’t a polite and teary gesture, made with a bowed head and demurely folded hands.  Real forgiveness would never, ever say, “I see that you were doing the best you knew how, and I forgive you.”  No! Real forgiveness has an entirely different take on the subject.  Real forgiveness does not make excuses for other people’s improper behavior.  Real forgiveness does not tell itself that everyone always does the best they know how, because that’s preposterous.  Do you always do your best?  Do I?  Of course not!  We all make mistakes, and we all do things we’re not proud of.  Real forgiveness knows this; it doesn’t set itself up as an advocate for the tormentors in your life.  It doesn’t make excuses for the disruptive behavior of others—because that sort of nonsense only increases your cycling between stages one and two.  Real forgiveness says, “I see that you were doing what worked for you at the time, but it never, ever worked for me!”

When your anger-supported boundaries are restored again, forgiveness will be as easy as falling off a log.  Forgiveness naturally follows the honorable restoration of your sense of self.  Anger and forgiveness are not opposing forces; they are completely equal partners in the true healing of your soul.

When we rush to forgiveness, we lose our connection to our original wounds.

First, we might forgive after a bout of properly channeled fury, and we’ll get our boundaries back—our authentic and honored anger will help us rediscover our strength and separateness.

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