I DON’T Agree with the forgiveness movement. I advocate honest change in behavior.
I’ve seen many phrases going around that posits forgiveness as a healer, a panacea for a victims anger and discontent over what was done. However, I know better and anyone else who has been slighted, especially by family or friends, knows better. Forgiveness is not for the victim, it is for the person being forgiven to feel better. I am not a fan on rushed feel good moments, because on the other side of that, is an incomplete person that is still hurting, unhealed and confused without any answers. This is not to say that the answers lie in the perpetrators explanation because many people have bad behavior due to generational wounds and other automatic behaviors that even they can not pinpoint. My argument is the healing is not in the forgiving but in modifying the actions within ourselves that caused the rift in the first place in order to create lasting change.
This is not just about the act of saying “I FORGIVE YOU” it is about what we command in our lives after the words have been said and how we raise our expectations as a result (victim and perpetrator). I very well may forgive my friend for calling me names but will I still continue to be her friend or allow her to continue to call me or stand by while she calls others nasty names? This is where I feel the ‘work’ in forgiveness needs to come in. We can all say the words, but to command different action is quite another issue.
I read/hear many conversations regarding how to forgive, stating that not forgiving is detrimental to health and well-being – I would say that not commanding the respect you deserve is also a detriment to your whole well-being. If a person were not to choose to not forgive someone but also command the appropriate treatment, one would consider this incomplete. However, if one were to forgive then continue to allow the individual to do the same things, they’d be considered stupid. I say this to show that people are stuck on the words being said and not the work being done.
This reminds me of when we do something like yell at our children (because all parents do at some point) – then the child forgives the apologetic parent. If two days later the parent yells again, then a few days after that does this not create a pattern in your child’s mind of accepting inappropriate reactions and behaviors as long as the person apologizes and they can forgive? However, if the parent is asked by the child to just stop yelling already, the parent may take a more reflective stance on their yelling and realize its because they are stressed, or taking things personally, and can then step back to analyze solutions instead of continuing to feel the behavior is acceptable. In this example, the child does not have to forgive you – you have to check yourself. Frankly if you stick to forgiveness as a prerequisite to your healing once forgiveness has been bestowed if reflection and changed behavior does not follow – it is not forgiveness that is required but an awakening to your behaviors. This can happen without forgiveness. Insert any scenario with any loved one and the same will remain true.
Keeping boundaries are a powerful reminder of your self worth and having boundaries is a powerful reminder that you have a personal responsibility to those you say you love.
MOMMYMAGIC SELF CARE TIP: Many of us have a disconnection from our sense of safety in this world, especially since our childhoods are disrupted by mental and emotional mismanagement of adults in our lives. In order to reconnect, use the mantra “I am safe as I am” or “I create my realities daily”…these mantras will ground you and empower you to take control of your life so that you are no longer living with the childish fears that hold you back.
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I want to hear from you – how you practice self care, how you have been healing your relationship with yourself and others.