Forgiveness or Acceptance
I’m sitting here on Easter weekend, thinking about how we have yet another lockdown – or rather a continued lockdown since November here in Toronto. We lost the few gains made allowing us to sit outdoors in March to eat at restaurants – I mean who doesn’t want to sit outdoors in Canada in March (LOL) – for the last 2 weeks of the start of Spring. And we were about to open up personal services like hair stylists in 2 weeks. Instead, we have another month of lockdown. It’s heart breaking for many of us and especially for those involved with small businesses. Just heartbreaking! On the bright side: my new website is live with only a few tweaks still being required. And it is gorgeous!
Alas we are to come to a place of Acceptance of the fact that our lives have been forever changed due to this virus and the past year. And why this particular theme is additionally significant is due to the weekend, this just past Easter weekend.
So many teachers discuss “forgiveness” and how this is crucial to our healing and growth. My latest show with Tom Campbell and I discuss whether this is the truth or not. Part of the reason we discussed it is because the term “forgiveness” is usually associated with whether you can forgive but not forget. “Turn the other cheek” we were told. But was that the true teaching here? Or was it an interpretation of the teaching we remember? So I am thinking of clarifying this – especially in light of this weekend which is related to the person who suggested that we “turn the other cheek”.
First, should we really just “turn our other cheek” so that we can allow someone to continue abusing us without even trying to understand the situation or to gain clarity? Second, do we really want to forget? Isn’t how we learn accomplished by our remembering the lessons? Third, are we – or can we be – truly forgiving if we don’t forget? And Fourth, aren’t we making a judgment when we perceive that we have been wronged and that there is something truly to be forgiven?
So looking at these questions it seems to me that “acceptance” is actually the place we want to come from. Acceptance actually comes from a place of unconditional love. We don’t have to like what happened or even like the person who triggered us or possibly even hurt us – but I suggest we grow towards love as we need to be able to accept that the people who – or events that – may have negatively impacted us are the result of people who may have had their own fears and pain and they didn’t intend to do anything to us – but they reacted from their own fears, beliefs and pain. So we can learn to accept – without turning the other cheek to just get more abuse dumped on us; without forgiving but not forgetting; without forgetting; and without judgement that forgiveness is required. Let me explain this a little more.
Turn the other cheek: I believe that what this was referring to was not that we should allow someone to slap us, or punch us and just turn our face so that they could do it on the other side. I believe that this statement was about Acceptance. They are who they are and no amount of our anger, our frustration or our hoping will change them – even if we hope for a miracle to “fix” them. So all those wasted emotions that cause us pain and fear will not change who they are. They are already in pain and fear. They are already hurting. And they are reacting from this place of fear when it seems that they try to tear us down, hurt us or cause us pain. When someone tries to hurt us, they are hurting more and they are unable to change. Acceptance is the only way around this. Forgiveness won’t work as far as changing them. Acceptance allows us to Let Go of their issues so we can work on our triggers.
Forgive but not Forget: When we say this, we aren’t truly forgiving anyone. The thing is that we don’t want to forget because we would never learn from the experience. This is our life and our journey. We need to learn from our relationships to become more evolved towards Love. If we forget – which we are probably incapable of doing anyway – we would continue the pattern. Therefore, we aren’t forgiving in the sense of turning our cheek. No. And we don’t have to like any of this. However, if we don’t come from a place of acceptance, we won’t ever be able to Let Go of our own pain and it will debilitate us. We would be causing ourselves unimaginable pain and letting the other person continue in their own pain. If we can accept someone – whether good, bad or ugly – then that allows them to breathe and possibly learn from their own pain.
True Forgiveness: What is true forgiveness? Forgetting the learning opportunity certainly isn’t the key. When we talk about true forgiveness we are talking about not blaming anyone who has hurt us. Letting go of our Story that says we were a victim, letting go of thinking that someone had the power to hurt us, or letting go of the pain we perceived someone did to us. When we can accept that everything happens for a reason, usually to assist us to Grow Up towards Love – then there really isn’t anything to forgive. Everyone has had a purpose in our life and how that played out – and how we perceived how it played out – it is just as much about their role as our own response to it. Forgiveness seems to be a construct of what we believe is important. The reality of Forgiveness is that we rarely do forgive someone. However, we can more easily Accept them for who they are.
Forgiveness and Judgment: The thing is that when we believe that someone should apologize we are actually judging them. Forgiveness and judgment rarely are not together. Someone did something that triggered us. We believe they are to blame for a not so pleasant outcome in our lives. And how true this is with someone like our parents as we tend to judge them as being responsible for how we turned out. Since we are really only responsible for ourselves to blame someone else and demand they apologize isn’t Forgiveness. Acceptance is what gives us the power to be Responsible for our own lives and that includes, always, the present situation we are in. Judgment is the opposite of Forgiveness and it isn’t our responsibility to judge another. That is why Acceptance is the only answer to our being responsible and having a loving life experience. Acceptance means we aren’t judging one another because we recognize that they are just feeling broken and are acting out of their own triggers. They are in pain and fear. We all know what that is like. We have all felt pain and fear. We just have to remember that when someone acts out it isn’t personal. We can still, and always, accept them for who they are. Again we don’t have to like them or the situation; we just have to remember they are in pain. This is Acceptance.
Acceptance is Unconditional Love: Acceptance comes from a place of Unconditional Love. Love is the energy of the Universe. Unfortunately we have learned that love is conditional. But that doesn’t need to be the reality for us. Making love conditional was a mistake born from pain and fear. Love has no conditions; if it did it wouldn’t be Love. As soon as we become triggered, such as when we feel the pain of someone rejecting us, we act out, but that acting out is not from Love. It is from fear. Fear is what creates conditions on love. Then our friends rally together and jump on the blame game with us – saying it is all their fault – not ours. We create support groups to help us when we feel victimized and justified in our anger and fear. We have all been encouraged to believe that love is conditional and that we can blame others for our pain. But Acceptance teaches us that that is NOT love. Love comes from a place that is whole – and ever present. Love is unconditional and Acceptance is the way through our fears. It is our fears that create the conditions on Love. Accepting that our life is a journey towards Love means we Accept everyone and everything that happens as a way to Evolve our Consciousness and take steps toward Love.
It is time to Let Go of our need for Forgiveness and, instead, embrace Acceptance. Let’s let Go of the anger, fear, pain and all negative emotions – not because we need an apology or to forgive our own fears but because it will lighten our energy and create balance in our lives. Letting Go allows us the Freedom to Accept that everything has a reason and we are part of this Beautiful Universe to Evolve our Consciousness towards expressing Unconditional Love. Acceptance will be the catalyst to this desire to Evolve and help us discover Unconditional Love. Join me in taking the next steps together.