Forgive the Unforgivable
Forgive the unforgivable. It’s possible, helpful, and It’s healthy.
Life is full of difficulties and relationships are not exempt from challenges. No matter how close we are to someone, there will come a time when we feel hurt or angry towards them.
Sometimes the betrayal is unforgivable.
It may be a deep betrayal, trauma, or violence.
It can be difficult to know how to move forward when this happens.
One option is to try to forget about the hurt, but this can be difficult if the feeling is strong.
A second option is to hold onto the anger, but this can negatively affect both parties involved.
A third option is to forgive the person who hurt you.
This may seem like a daunting task, but as a Buddhist teacher, I have some advice on why and how to forgive the unforgivable, through the lens of Zen that has supported forgiving, for myself and my clients.
Forgive the Unforgivable. 3 Reasons Why You Should.
1. Forgiveness can set you free from the chains of resentment and bitterness
Sometimes people hurt us past the point of continuing a relationship at all, sometimes without realizing what they are doing until it’s too late or they had the intention to hurt us.
If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know how hard it can be to forgive them or yourself. You may even feel like you can’t move on until you’ve made things right or got “even” with the person you hurt. Forgiveness can set you free – free from the weight of the past and free to live in the present moment.
2. It allows you to move on and focus on the present rather than the past
When you don’t forgive, you are essentially holding on to anger and resentment. These negative emotions take up space in your mind and heart, leaving little room for happiness and peace. In order to live our lives to the fullest, we need to let go of the past and forgive those who have hurt us. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened was okay; it simply means that you’re no longer going to allow that event to control your life. When you forgive, you free yourself from the chains of negativity and can focus on the present moment instead. It can improve your mental and physical health
3. It strengthens relationships with others
If intentional, the person who hurt us wants us to suffer. They want us to have closed hearts and fractured relationships. When we forgive, we free ourselves from anger and resentment, and we allow love to flow in. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we forget what happened or that we condone the behavior, but it means that we choose to let go of the pain and bitterness and move on. We open up our hearts and create space for happiness and peace by forgiving others.
Forgiving is Powerful
Forgiveness is a powerful emotion. It can be the difference between holding on to resentment and bitterness and moving on with your life. However, forgiving someone who has hurt you can be difficult.
Try to understand why the person hurt you. Oftentimes, people behave poorly because they are dealing with their own issues and problems. That does not make it right, but it helps you to understand.
Once you understand why the person behaved the way they did, it may be easier to forgive them. Second, try to let go of the grudge you’re holding against them.
Harboring resentment will only impede your own progress in life. Finally, focus on the good things that came out of the situation.
When someone betrays your trust, it can be difficult to forgive them. However, forgiveness is key to maintaining healthy relationships with others (not always with them per se) and moving on with your life.
Forgive the Unforgivable. 6 Tips.
Here are a few tips to help you forgive someone who has hurt you:
- Understand that forgiveness is for you, not for the other person.
- Don’t try to forget what happened – that’s impossible.
- Recognize that resentment and anger will only keep you trapped in the past.
- Believe that you are capable of forgiving – it takes courage but it’s worth it!
- Allow yourself time and space to grieve if necessary.
- Realize it is a process and having bouts of anger, resentment, etc., are a part of the process. It IS a process.
I will not go into details but I was assaulted by a friend’s brother in my early twenties, was left for dead, and needed emergency surgery, and I had a horrible scar physically and emotionally.
It was then that I was told I might not have children, which was jarring to me since that was my desire; to be a mother.
Fast forward, because I could talk for hours about this and I don’t want to give it energy; the negative parts are not the most interesting; forgiveness was possible.
I almost died, through his violence, but I was able to forgive him.
I’d never wish this on anyone, but the process taught me so much about myself. It also showed me through the years, the amazing people who worked in the fields of healing, from therapists to physicians.
Fast forward a few years later
When I was delivering my daughter, many years later via C-section, the doctor did not tell me (nor charge me) but he resutured me so that the scaring was cut away. The scarring from hip to hip, which was a visual reminder and horrible sight, was now gone.
So his generosity and kindness were when I realized that it was time to release my anger and resentment.
I did forgiveness rituals and meditations for over a year. It wasn’t my only focus, but I did intentionally set my personal goal of releasing this trapped energy.
I stopped feeling the need to infuse the experience into my rituals, stopped having certain triggers and anxieties, and became indifferent.
It does not mean I want to find him and invite him for a picnic; it means I am no longer being ruled or infected with the emotions that once held me captive.
This is what I hope you find; that indifference that also is accompanied by a release of emotion and pure joy and compassion for life.
You might find this article (How to deal with betrayal) very helpful.