“Those we need to forgive are our most important teachers, for they indicate the limits to our capacity for forgiveness.”-Marianne Williamson, A Year of Miracles
I must admit I’ve had a hard time with the concept of forgiveness. Forgiveness? I asked myself. What do I need forgiveness for? I love everybody!
Right. When I say it out loud it does sound a bit delusional.
A Course in Miracles, the text I read every morning, is all about the big F (not that one). Forgiveness. I’ve never quite connected with what this means.
Enter Marianne Williamson. Her words remind me to think of forgiveness a little bit differently. Rather than, yet another thing, I need to do, forgiveness can be a gift to be received. A package of lessons about my true nature, beneath what I consciously observe.
Research indicates that many of the decisions we make are, in fact, unconscious. Rote memory from yesterday’s news. This leads us to overlook some pretty big truths about ourselves, at times.
Looking deeply at the people I hold grudges against gifts me with a unique window into these unconscious motivations. When I really look at whoever I have yet to forgive, no matter how small the grievance, it tells me quite a lot about myself.
And, perhaps more important, my soul’s lessons for this lifetime.
Here’s an example. When I was in my twenties, I was in a relationship with someone who I perceived as not-so-nice. There was a bit of name-calling and he seldom was satisfied with the things I did. This was painful for me at the time as a pleaser. I never quite measured up.
After eventually going our separate ways, I thought I had forgiven him and moved on. Aaaand we’re right back to delusional.
Although I knew he had a painful childhood, and the conscious part of me truly thought I’d moved on-there was a seed of bitterness still buried within me.
When I read Williamson’s words this story was the first that came to my mind. I finally asked myself what this relationship might have taught me. What I might have missed that I needed to see from this experience.
What came up was years of self-doubt showing up as some of my greatest fears revealed. What if I was lazy? What if I was unable to complete anything I started? And what if all of my pleasing was never enough?
When we take the time to look a bit deeper, forgiveness is always a mirror, reflecting our deepest fears. These fears are truly our greatest teachers in knowing the unknown parts of ourselves.
In forgiving this relationship-I was forgiving the disowned qualities of uncertainty and low self-esteem within myself. The unconscious ones. And allowing the divine within to be present.
ALL of my divine. Even the less shiny parts.
My question for today is this-Are there relationships you too struggle to forgive? What might these relationships reveal about parts of yourself you have suppressed or forgotten? And, most importantly, How can you heal these fears to find greater peace and joy?
Often it just takes acknowlegement of these wounds to encourage the rapid growth and healing you can receive from these difficult moments. Above all be patient with yourself. These wounds can run deep and it may take some time to discover, gently, what these moments have to teach.
Never forget-you are a beautiful expression of the divine. Forgiving someone else is not condoning, but allowing yourself to release what is no longer yours to carry. May your burden light and your joy endless. Namaste