Why is forgiveness so hard to practice? Is it because we are too stubborn to admit that we are wrong? Is it because we don’t know how to be selfless? When we put forgiveness in its proper perspective, we learn of its extraordinary power and gain a new respect for it. Forgiveness is an act of surrender and transcendence. When we treat forgiveness as an act of self-love we learn to surrender. When we are willing to forgive, we are surrendering to our own suffering, to our own wrong thinking and we are surrendering to our fear. In exchange for our surrender we receive healing, we receive peace, we receive our Truth and we open our hearts to authentic vulnerability. With the process of forgiveness, we transcend our darkness and we step into our light.
When we perceive a personal injustice or when our feelings are hurt, we create a memory that attaches our emotional pain to this perceived indignity. When the offense occurs, the emotion is like a volcanic eruption with red hot molten lava, it has life, it has energy and it flows through us. It makes our blood boil. When left unaddressed, it begins to cool, and like lava it gets dark, it becomes abrasive and coarse. It feels piercing and treacherous. It’s hard to walk on and we avoid it. We make a path around it. When we are not willing to forgive, we are withholding our love. We unwittingly block the flow of our own emotions when we are not willing to forgive. Any unresolved negative emotion that we give excessive thought to robs us of our energy. We create our own suffering by habitually revisiting the offensive memory. Each visit to this memory is another little eruption, more lava flow, more emotional obstruction. Each time we visit the memory, our path around the obstruction gets a little wider and we begin to feel our own energetic resistance. In order to remove this emotional obstacle, we need to forgive. When we forgive, we step into our fear so we can release our attachment to the painful memory. We understand that it was never about us. We understand that “we are not what happened to us”. We understand that “no one does anything to us” and “what they did was for themselves”. We see the situation from a different perspective. When we are willing to forgive, we send energetic love in the form of empathy and compassion to the perpetrator. When we forgive, it is an act of love for ourselves. It is an opportunity to practice our non-emotional respect for truth. Forgiveness clears this obstacle and opens our flow of energy. We take our power back and open a new energetic pathway for love.
In addition to healing ourselves, forgiveness helps us heal others through our vulnerabilities. There is an empirical correlation between forgiveness and vulnerability. We cannot know our Truth without forgiveness and therefore cannot speak our Truth without forgiveness. Forgiveness is a key that unlocks our shame and guilt. It ensures that our hands are clean and our hearts are pure in every relationship. Forgiveness is the responsibility of not bringing our pain into the relationship and vulnerability is the acknowledgement of our surrender to that pain. Forgiveness clears the path for us to be vulnerable. Forgiveness releases the fear driven embarrassment and humiliation we were attached too. We can’t be vulnerable until we have released the humiliation, guilt and shame. One cannot be truly vulnerable until the energy of fear is removed and energy of love is present. With forgiveness, a door is open for vulnerability to step through. Vulnerability is a way that we show up for others. It allows us to unlock the light in others so they too can shine. In Social Penetration theory, we learn that our vulnerability gets expressed in layers of depth that are based on the trust between individuals. The layers range from superficial to authentic, with authentic vulnerability being the deepest. Authentic vulnerability is the most powerful and moving level of self-disclosure. It is also noted to be the most healing. It requires rigorous honesty and it carries such high levels of emotional energy that it immediately activates empathetic “mirror neurons” between individuals. These neurons are a type of brain cell that respond equally when we witness someone else perform the same action. A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Authentic vulnerability is the beginning of the transfiguration of consciousness, the beginning of an inner serenity, and the opening of compassion. When we are open and willing to share our deepest secrets with the intention of healing, we are allowing others to see us in a new light. In turn, they are able to see themselves differently because of how they see us. When we share our secrets in a trusting environment, we take back our power and we are able to help others do the same.
Forgiveness and Vulnerability should be handled with the greatest respect and consideration. They are two powerful virtues that are rooted in love and have infinite healing energy. Both require deep personal introspection, rigorous honesty and must be anchored to your Truth. The ultimate Truth is when we are able to forgive and have gratitude for the perpetrator or the experience (but that’s another blog). When we practice forgiveness and authentic vulnerability we are practicing Synergistic Love. Whether we apply this to ourselves or others, this love produces an effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
Are you able to love yourself? If so, It’s time to start forgiving.