Genie Speaks

There is hope

Forgiveness

I have work diligently for over a decade to forgive those who have hurt me in the past whether it was real or an imagined hurt.  Every time I think “I have forgiven X,” I find later on that I truly have not.

I believe this is a huge flaw in me and I wish whole hearty to forgive.  My mind knows that Buddha was right when he said “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

I truly know that I am hurting myself by not truly forgiving everyone.  There is something inside of me that will not let go completely.   I know that I am holding myself back from experiencing that best me I can be.   I do believe what Paul Boese said “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

So what do I need to do to let go of that final piece of imagined hurt?  I’ve been pondering that for years, then today on Facebook someone posted this quote by Orpah, “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”  Wow, that is an eye opener.

So how come I’m not rushing to say “Thank you” to X?  ­­­At this point I can say the words, but I don’t truly do not feel thankful.  I just had a thought; I should do what­­­ I’ve been doing since I started on my spiritual journey: pretend until it becomes reality.  Or in other words: visualize the possibility, because I know everything created began with a thought.

Life is good!  God is great!  All is right in my world!

Blessings,

Genie­­­­

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33 thoughts on “Forgiveness

  1. Hi Genie … I am new to your blog … found you by way of a comment you left over at ShimonZ’s blog. I’ve been browsing through some of your blog entries, to get a feel for who are you, and how your voice conveys the essence of who you’ve become (or are becoming). I’ve especially enjoyed the blog posts where you share a bit about yourself through the process of being nominated for blog awards.

    This post about forgiveness really caught my attention. I am a person who has survived some very abusive situations, and the thought of trying to envision me being able to say, “Thank you for that experience” …. well, I can’t seem to wrap my head around that being a thought that I could realistically experience.

    Can I say, “Thank you for the survival skills that I learned as a result of that experience” ??? Yes, I think I could say that, and mean it. Can I say, “Thank you for the strength that carried me through that experience” ???? Yes, I feel comfortable with being able to say that, and mean it. But can I think of my abuser, and say, “Thank you for that experience”??? Uhmm, no, even if I try to envision my most-evolved and enlightened self, I can’t really see that happening.

    You’ve given me something to think about, and I always am appreciative when my eyes have been opened to a new possibility, so thank you for that. I’ll have to ponder on this a bit more, and see where my thoughts end up.

    • I’m glad you found me. I’m am happy that you are inspired to ponder forgiveness. As far as telling your abuser “thank you” – it isn’t about them so it isn’t necessary to talk to them in person. Forgiveness is about you, your mental health and your spiritual health. I am still struggling with my thank you to X; it is getting easier to think about the possibility of being able to truly forgive. Thank you for your wonderful comment.

      • Fortunately, in my case, I was able to confront my abuser (my father, who sexually molested me and raped me and got me addicted to alcohol and drugs). Although the abuse spanned almost 18 years, several years before he passed away, I was able to approach him and demand that he take responsibility for his actions. We were actually able to work through the stages of forgiveness, and I was even able to progress to a point where I could provide some care for him when he became terminally ill with lymphatic cancer. He passed away about five years ago.

        Confronting him, and asking him to take responsibility for his actions, and having the opportunity to have discussions with him about the mechanics of why and how the abuse happened; well, those were all helpful steps in my healing process. I won’t pretend our relationship ever became easy, but we both worked at having some semblance of a relationship. It was important to me that he die knowing that I had done everything I could to forgive him.

        My mother also abused me, (physically, with broken bones and scars from razor blades, etc), and yet, in a very different way, and much earlier in my life, she and I also worked through the stages of forgiveness. With her, it was a much easier process, in that she claimed responsibility for her actions from the very beginning, and she sincerely worked at obtaining my forgiveness. She initiated the process, in that she came to me and spent many years asking for forgiveness (before I was ready to go down that road, or before I had the benefit of counseling to help me through the process). We made our peace, and we actually became very close. Extremely close, even. I took care of her the last six years of her life while she was in ailing health, and when she passed away about three years ago, I went through a very significant mourning process. I still miss her terribly today, but I am forever grateful that we were able to discover and work through the stages of forgiveness, and we were able to re-claim our mother-daughter relationship. We had so many good years after that. Wonderfully rich and rewarding years.

        When I say that your ideas about forgiveness, and with being able to say, “Thank you for that experience,” has given me some food for thought, I say it from a place where I consider myself to have an intimate and practiced idea of what forgiveness looks like, from the inside out. For instance, in both cases, (with my father and my mother), we reached a point where it became clear to me that the forgiveness had to extend in both directions.

        As an example, all those years I turned my back on them, and intentionally ignored them or snubbed them; well, at some point I asked for their forgiveness for having caused them pain. After I became a parent myself, it became so abundantly clear to me how much that had to have caused them pain, whether or not anyone felt like I was justified in separating myself from them during that time. It is one thing to separate yourself from people who cause you harm, and yet another thing altogether to separate yourself from someone for the primary reason being that you wished to cause them a significant amount of pain. Forgiveness went both ways.

        Unfortunately, several of my siblings never understood the mechanics of forgiveness, and to this day, some of them hold a lot of resentment and anger towards me because I worked at figuring out a way to travel through the stages of forgiveness with both my parents. I know they simply don’t understand yet, and I mourn their own lost ability to have made the same journey while my parents were still alive. Now my parents are both gone, and the opportunity for my siblings, at least in relation to having a direct confrontation or conversation, have passed.

        Sorry for the long blog comment, but when I come across something that gets me to thinking, well, I always sit up and pay attention. It isn’t just your question about forgiveness that has me wondering. I’m also curious how it is that you’ve made the choice to approach life from a place that honors and recognizes the happiness in your life. How you’ve cultivated the attitude of appreciation.

        I’m still working on baby steps in that direction. Sometimes it helps to observe someone a bit farther down the road. I look forward to getting to know you a bit more as I watch your blog, and thank you, again, for giving me some food for thought, on the subject of forgiveness.

        ntexas99 (aka Nancy)

      • Wow! I’m so impressed by you. The fact that you were able to talk to both your parents before they died and found a measure of peace is ….awesome. Wish we were neighbors, I would run over and hug you. The post I did todayhttps://geniespeaks.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/how-to-be-happy-genies-way/ is an outline of what I did to get where I am today. I know that I will be exploring each step in more detail in the future. Maybe more than once as I grow spiritually.
        Many Blessings,
        Genie

  2. Nice post, Genie.

    Forgiveness is one of the traits of a loving person. We all are on a journey of striving to live authentically as loving people, but as others have commented it is a journey/process. You might find this post interesting on this topic: http://thestillspot.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/are-you-living-authentically/

    Blessings!

  3. Hi, Genie.
    Thank you for checking out my blog. I hope you found it encouraging.

    Your post is honest and poignant–and positively aches with wanting to do the right thing. As someone who has had to forgive deep wounds, I wondered if you’ve thought about forgiveness as a process?

    Imagine you’ve fallen down on a gravel road. When you get up, you notice several pieces of rock imbedded in your skin and quickly remove them. Later your scrapes begin to heal and several tiny–but still painful–shards of earth break through the surface of your skin. Some wounds are so deep you don’t always realize they exist until they penetrate the tender parts of your body.

    Forgiveness is like that–it’s difficult to forgive when we think the wound has already been cleansed.

    Matthew 8:21-22 (Message) At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
    Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

  4. Hmm. I wonder if maybe first you need to forgive yourself for not being able to forgive them! It seems an added burden of guilt on top of whatever they may have done to you, and more energy given to people who may not deserve it.

    Thinking about forgiving somebody and not being able to do it is still a form of chewing over what happened, and if you feel bad about it, then in a way they’re still injuring you. Is that really your responsibility if you’re not ready to do it?

    Maybe it’s better to say “Hey, I’m human, I did my best to forgive you, but I guess I’m still kinda ticked. I’ll try not to let it bother me too much, though, because it’s not really worth all the trouble!” Then go do something more fun! Does that make any sense? 🙂

    • Jennifer that makes so much sense. I should enjoy my life and not wallow in not being able to truly forgive someone. Perhaps, letting go and being happy will be another path to true forgiveness. After all, if I’m busy having fun then I’m not still attached to the situation. Thank you!

      • Exactly! Life’s too short to spend all your time trying to be perfect, spiritually or otherwise. Believe me, I know. That’s my biggest problem too! Gotta live a little. The only moment you can really do anything with is right now, but fortunately it’s ALWAYS right now.

        P.S. I nominate you for the Totally Perfect Right This Minute Award, which I also made up right this minute. To accept this award, please don’t do a blessed thing. Just keep on being you. 🙂

      • I love this award! Thank you and I accept it. I can’t wait to just keep being myself. 🙂

  5. Genie! Beautiful post. I am positive so many can relate to your words. I always say “forgiveness is not for the person who hurt you as much as it is for me!”
    It indeed will set you free and enlarge your future!

    Genie…I have nominated you for The Commenter Award! I want to thank you for all of your positive comments on my blog! I really love it when I see you have commented!! Thank you….thank you! You can follow this link to see the award! http://wp.me/p1fiGl-ia

    • I’ve worked so hard on forgiveness, because I too believe it’s for my own spiritual, mental, emotional and physical heath. Even as I forgive someone, I not concerned with letting them know. It’s not about them.

  6. Love your blog, and have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Congratulations! What to do? Check: http://colourtheday.wordpress.com/awardsinspiration/

  7. I had one of those once in a lifetime experiences a few months back and for me it was more about trust and then forgiveness. Plus YOU have to give YOURSELF FORGIVENESS in order to move on as well as being a better you. I am learning self acceptance as well as saying thank you and being grateful. Just take baby steps and give yourself a little break to have some fun too. Happy Monday!

    • Thank you! Very wise words “give yourself forgiveness.” I am much kinder to myself these days and do forgive myself…eventually. I’m thinking if I start thanking me and “x” for the experience, that I will truly know what is forgiveness.

  8. Be patient with yourself and bless you on your journey to forgive!

  9. Hi,
    Unfortunately some things are easier said than done, and forgiveness is not as easy as it sounds sometimes.

    • Thank you! Never said forgiveness would easy; in fact it is one of hardest things I found to do. It is worth the effort to have a burden taken off your heart.

  10. I’ve been pondering the forgiveness thing for a long time because I find that I can feel I’ve forgiven someone and then later –sometimes years–have something come up that makes me realize maybe I haven’t. At the time of forgiving it always feels as if I have. I can be thankful for what I’ve learned from the experience (and to the person for giving me that lesson) and see the divine spark at the essence of whoever was mean or hateful and still I can find myself feeling angry over what happened. I like your idea of just keeping on affirming and visualizing that you have until that’s how you always feel.

  11. forgiving in real sense takes a lot of courage, mental strength, if we cant forgive we can atleast forget the injury/pain and keep only the lesson learned.

  12. “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” Wow, that is an eye opener.

    I agree. Powerful. And true, at least for me. Most of the attributes in myself that I’m most proud of (such as being strong, empathetic and kind) are largely the direct result of the people and experiences who I’d felt had “hurt” me. I began to appreciate their actions for helping me to become a the person I’ve become, and forgiveness became much easier for me and was replaced by appreciation.

    Russ

  13. I understand about having trouble forgiving.
    *hugs*

  14. I dont agree with Oprahs thought, you cant say thank you to someone for hurting you in some way, but yes forgiving takes time and it could be easier if we think that the other person behaviour is something related to their inner trait. they might be jealous or arrogant and it has nothing to do with you 🙂

    • I understand what you are saying. I have worked years to forgive, but I haven’t gotten to the point I can say thank you and mean it. I relate this to my experience with medical issues. I would have rather skipped that experience, but I would have missed the pure joy I feel now. Forgiveness isn’t about the other person – it’s about our inner growth.

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