Fallacy #1: You NEED TO Forgive!
Hi, and welcome to the first video in my new series that I’m entitling “Forgiveness Fallacies.” The fallacy I want to look at today is”We Need to Forgive.” I realize that I’m flying in the face of almost all tradition, secular and religious alike. But I don’t think forgiveness is the most helpful process for healing. When we focus on forgiveness we are putting our attention on somebody else – what they did and how they hurt us, and asking whether we’re going to release them from accountability for what they did.
Whenever we focus on somebody else we are immediately putting ourselves in a position of disempowerment. We have no authority or control over what somebody else says or does, or if they take responsibility for their actions. Even if somehow we are able to convince them to make changes, it actually doesn’t get at the essential problem in front of us.
Following Our “NO”!
If we focus on ourselves we get to a much more powerful healing experience. We start by following our “no” in the situation. We know we have a “no” because something happened to us that we didn’t like. That “no” is really helpful. It points to something inside of ourselves that isn’t quite aligned with what we want. We can use that information to get at a deeper healing experience.
Let’s say you fall in love with somebody and you just pour your heart out for them. You give them a compassion and affection, and just really serve that love. Then that person ends up cheating on you. Now you feel hurt and you feel betrayed and violated. The “no” in that situation is “No, I don’t want a relationship in which I give my heart and soul, and the person ends up devaluing me or dehumanizing me.” That’s good. You know what you don’t want.
So Why Is the “NO” Here Then?
You follow that “no” into the question of, why did I help create the situation? In order for this to work you have to agree that you’re not a victim to your life. If you think you’re a victim all you can really do is respond and deal with what comes your way. I’m suggesting that you’re a co-creator in your life and somehow, even though you don’t want this, you have helped to create a dynamic that brought this into your life.
If you agree that you helped create it, you can follow that experience to the source. Where is the story or memory or wound that set this pattern in place? Once you can find and clear it, you are free to choose differently. Actually the difficult situation becomes a great opportunity for you to get in touch with something that you might not have been aware of, but now you know because the “NO” is in your face!
How Forgiveness Could Work Against You
The irony of focusing on forgiveness is that you definitely have a “NO” but you’re not using it to any real benefit. In fact, the purpose of forgiveness is really disabling the “NO.” You’re trying not to feel bad. You’re trying to let the person off the hook – losing your “no.” That means you’re losing the opportunity for healing, and that you’re likely to keep repeating the same pattern again and again.
That’s why I think it’s really a good idea not to focus forgiveness when your heart is broken, when you’re feeling violated, when you’re feeling disappointed. Instead we can acknowledge our painful feelings, honoring them and letting them show you where you are hurt, so that you can actually make a real change in your life. So you can create the life that matches your deepest desires.