So much has been written and talked about on this subject of forgiveness, and God only knows we've all had opportunity after opportunity to put it into practice. As we all know, what we resist persists so until we get it figured out it, those opportunities will continue to arise. I can only share what I have personally learned on the topic and well, here it is.
Unforgiveness and holding on to resentment towards ourselves and others only hurts one person. Us. It think people who show up in our lives who we feel hurt by, are there to teach us about ourselves and where we are at on our own journey. The hurt we feel others have caused us, comes from a place within them that is in pain. Hurt people end up hurting people. The people who cause the most pain in the lives of others are actually the ones who are in the most pain. They have been hurt so badly themselves (usually in childhood) that they shut down emotionally and act out of a place of being closed and jaded. They made a decision to make sure no one else gets close enough to hurt them so they hurt you!
We've all hurt other people too, no one is exempt from this because we've all had some pain somewhere in our past. We need to forgive ourselves too, and understand that we've hurt others in our lives from that place of pain. We can use our pain as a guage. The more we heal our own pain, the more we will notice people not showing up to hurt us. They are our mirror and we are theirs.
If we can look at who and how we've hurt others as a result of our old painful experiences, and forgive ourselves, then we can find the compassion needed to understand that we are all human, we've all got pain, and then we can find forgiveness for another.
This is not an easy process, and it is just that, a process. But it is doable and oh so freeing. I've been confused at times in my process of forgiveness because I thought at one time, that if I forgave someone that meant what they did was okay. That's not it at all. To forgive someone's actions means honoring the fact that they're human and they have pain, sometimes so deep that they've done things to others that seem unforgivable. To find it in our hearts to forgive their actions, frees us from carrying around resentments that hurt US. It doesn't mean we have to be their friend again, or have them in our lives, although that might be an option. It's okay to cut them out of our lives completely, we need to do whatever has us being true to ourselves.
Many of us have even held resentment toward God, Creator, Universe, Source (whatever name we personally use for a higher power) because we can't understand why 'bad' things happen. Myself included. I was so mad at God most of my life, I refused to acknowledge a higher power even existed!
What I've learned is that my anger and resentment had me moving further away from having a relationship with my Creator, when in fact the more I opened spiritually the more I have been able to find peace and forgiveness. I understand that everyone is on their own journey and that I am only in control of my own actions and reactions and healing my own pain. Every circumstance and person I encounter is there as an opportunity for me to grow if I choose, and that is what I choose.
What if the souls of the people who have hurt us the most, made an agreement with our souls before we signed up for this gig on Earth loved us so much that they agreed to meet us here and cause us pain so we could grow and find freedom through forgiveness? Pretty radical I know, but I believe this is the case. Again it doesn't mean we can't cut them out of our lives, it just means using the opportunity to learn and grow through forgiveness. I forgive and send thanks to their soul and hope they find a way to heal the deep pain they must have experienced in their childhood. I honor their journey and know it is not me they need to answer to. It's themselves and their Creator. We are experiencing with others all through our lives, and even though we are having an experience together, that experience will be different for each of us.
I am still peeling off some layers in this department and have found freedom in doing so. It started with me simply being open and willing to forgive even though I knew in that moment it would not be immediate. I learned not to take everything so personal and that people who hurt people, are the ones who are hurting the most. I've found compassion for myself and for them.
If we are ever to see peace on this Earth, we are going to have to find it within each and every one of us as an individual first.
Peace, Love and Forgiveness