Forgiveness - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Forgiveness


Forgiveness
by Real Live Preacher

Forgiveness is the healing of wounds caused by another. You choose to let go of a past wrong and no longer be hurt by it. Forgiveness is a strong move to make, like turning your shoulders sideways to walk quickly on a crowded sidewalk.

It's your move.

It really doesn't matter if the person who hurt you deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You have things to do and you want to move on.

You can't forget. Forgiving has nothing to do with forgetting. You should remember everything and learn from it. Forgiving is goodness in the middle of remembering.

Above all, forgiveness is a series of choices you make.

You choose not to seek revenge or fantasize about revenge. You choose not to talk badly about the person who hurt you or wish evil for them.

You choose to let go of your anger and not feed upon it. Shedding anger takes time and practice, but you choose to move in that direction.

You choose to wish that person well.

If these choices seem impossible to you, you might start by choosing to pray for the person who wronged you. You can pray for someone even if you don't believe in God.

You should be quiet about your forgiveness, except with close friends. If you need to tell the story, you have not arrived. Choose not to tell the story until you no longer want to.

Forgiveness does not always lead to a healed relationship. Some people are not capable of receiving your love, and it might be wise to let them go along with your anger. Wish them well, and let them go their way.

Whatever happens, forgiveness is good food for your soul.

-The Preacher

Real Live Preacher is a pastor in Texas who writes amazing insights about life and God in his blog. You can read it here http://www.reallivepreacher.com A warning about RLP...he is very blunt and sometimes uses off-color language, but I think you guys can handle it.

"no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted..." ~ aesop
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 08:15 PM
 
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The question I have is about self-forgiveness. Is this a separate category, or is it the same? It seems to me that the inability to forgive yourself for your failures, weaknesses, and faults, may in fact be at the root of the inability to forgive others, not in every instance perhaps, but at least in some cases. Maybe, when you can't forgive yourself, deep down you believe that you deserve the terrible things that others sometimes do to you. Through a process of inner connection, the ill treatment of others then gets transformed into an unpleasant reminder of the self-loathing you usually bury deep within you, and your feelings of inferiority are dug up and piled right on top of the hurt you experience directly from the unkind acts. The feelings of guilt and shame you have get projected out into the world, in a sense, showing up as anger and bitterness towards others, the ones who have reminded you of what you normally repress because it is just too horrible to deal with on a daily basis. So as long as you hold onto your own shame, as long as you can't forgive yourself, then by extension it becomes very difficult to forgive others as well. They hurt you, and in doing so they bring your feelings of worthlessness into stark relief.

I hope this isn't too hard to understand, perhaps the point I'm trying to make is a little subtle, maybe even counterintuitive in some sense. The observation is related to an experience I had long ago, in high school, where the one good friend I had suddenly turned his back on me because he wanted to hang out with more popular kids, and he apparently decided I was either an embarrassment or an albatross. I had befriended him in grade school, when he was the fattest kid in class and didn't have any other friends, and was made fun of on a regular basis. He eventually lost a lot of weight, and then suddenly didn't want me around any more. I was hurt and felt betrayed, yes, but it also deepened my sense of self-loathing, it seemed like further verification of what I already suspected, that I was a disgusting, worthless thing deserving of rejection. This was a long time ago now, but I have to admit, I still haven't forgiven this person.

So I wonder, if I could learn to truly forgive myself, to let go of my own sense of shame and guilt for being such a failure, would that be the key to transformation? Is self-forgiveness, learning to accept what you are and what you have or have not done, is this the source of power I seek as I look to become a better and more charitable person?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 09:27 PM
 
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Forgiveness is a very hard thing to achieve, especially for someone like me. I have had many people kick me in the face (figuratively speaking) and it is very difficult for me to forgive anyone. After four years I have forgiven the worst offenders of the bunch and it was like a weight off my shoulders that had been dragging me down for a long time.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 09:34 PM
 
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I agree, i've already learned to forgive along time ago, and its helped lift alot of burden from my shoulders and helped me to move on, because violent revenge really does no good for someone, but success as revenge, that is true revenge, and it only benefits yourself with no drawbacks. I've forgiven everyone who's ever even said a few sentences to me that i would deem hurtful and non-dissmissive, because really i feel sorry for those people and i kind of understand them alittle better now.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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I think you're on to something there Rathbone. I know in my own life I am very hard on myself and don't give myself much slack when I screw up. I've been told that I have these same standards towards others. I expect too much from them. I know no one is perfect but when they majorly screw me over in some way my first thought is they can't be trusted, they'll do it again, they are just going to hurt me, etc....and then I pull away from them. So I think if I can learn to give myself some slack it might be easier to do the same with others.

Since SA has so much to do with self-evaluation, I think accepting ourselves, flaws and all, is the key to overcoming our struggles. I think we are too hard on ourselves and need to focus on our positive qualities instead of just beating ourselves up over our screw-ups.

I think this is definitely a topic worth exploring further. I'm going to do a little research and post some information on forgiving yourself and self acceptance.

"no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted..." ~ aesop
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-26-2004, 12:11 AM
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Hate and bitterness sometimes seem like the only emotions that allow me to get up each day and face the world....I agree that we can't love or forgive others if we can't love and forgive ourselves....Most people, can't or are unwilling to look in the mirror....It is much easier to focus on the shortcomings of others than to honestly critique ourselves....How can we love others, let others love us, or love being alive if we hate ourselves?
Forgiveness of myself and others seems like trying to touch the stars....Just completely out of reach....It seems like hate, pettiness, bitterness etc. are defense mechanisms that allow me to deny that controlling life is completely out of my hands....
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-26-2004, 03:25 AM
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Re: Forgiveness


Quote:
Originally Posted by TruSeeker777
You choose to let go of your anger and not feed upon it. Shedding anger takes time and practice, but you choose to move in that direction.
This is the part I have trouble with.
I have spent my life, up until last year, saying I wasn't angry. It's been a huge step just to admit I have anger. I feel wrong for having the anger, I feel that I should just ignore it.
I guess though it is learning how to properly deal with the anger. I have a choice in that.
It's just been difficult being told that anger is so wrong, when I think it is a normal emotion. It's how you deal with it that makes it right/wrong IMO.
It's hard for me to believe that forgiveness is a choice, not a process. I feel so down on myself that I can't forgive this one person. Is it ok to take time? I've been trying to for 5 years with one person already

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-26-2004, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Forgiveness


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicky
I feel so down on myself that I can't forgive this one person. Is it ok to take time? I've been trying to for 5 years with one person already
I'm in a similar situation Vicky. Everytime I think I've forgiven this person completely, something will happen and I begin to feel the resentment and distrust again. I think it's a process and it's different for every person. Don't give up though. I think as long as we keep our hearts open to forgiving that person, we are still moving in the right direction.

"no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted..." ~ aesop
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 11:56 PM
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Re: Forgiveness


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Originally Posted by TruSeeker777
I'm in a similar situation Vicky. Everytime I think I've forgiven this person completely, something will happen and I begin to feel the resentment and distrust again. I think it's a process and it's different for every person. Don't give up though. I think as long as we keep our hearts open to forgiving that person, we are still moving in the right direction.
Thank you That helped

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2004, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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I learned something several years ago that really changed my thinking about forgiveness. Say someone hurt you in some way and you just keep holding on to the anger and bitterness, or you keep playing the incident over and over in your head, in a sense, when you hold on to those things it's like you're giving that person the power to control you still...the power to control your emotions and actions. The last thing we want is for that person to have power over us. I mean, we've been hurt enough by this person, right? So if we can grasp that idea it may be easier to forgive them.

Just something to think about...

"no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted..." ~ aesop
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2004, 02:10 PM
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The Buddha once said that holding on to anger was like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else... you are the one who gets burned.

I've found that to be very true.

Anger is a normal emotion and, in fact, I think it's important that people have a place for that in their lives, but in the end I really think that letting go is something you have to do. For yourself, not for them.

Thanks for this reminder. I did a little bit of forgiveness today. It felt good.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2004, 06:05 PM
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Every once in a while you get a breakthrough in life...I got a breakthrough about "forgiveness" during one of my meditations...I felt God was explaining it to me by reminding me of Jesus on the cross...when he said "father forgive them cause they don't know what they are doing"...then he told me that Jesus said that for all people in all time...anytime any one does anything bad to hurt another, that person really doesn't know what they are doing...
I sort of questioned this...and he showed me that if that person was standing before Jesus and really "knew" what they were doing...they never would have done it. When I feel I have been hurt by others, I just remember they really didnt "know"...none of us really know sometimes what we are doing to another.
that is also why in the Lord's prayer he says to forgive others so we also can be forgiven...we are all guilty...yet all entitled to forgiveness. based on Jesus saying "they don't know what they do"
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