This concept is a fundamental part of my being that really has enabled me to live.
I am thankful *nearly* everyday for the mind that I have been blessed with. I'm not sure if it has been trained and taught how to be or if my way of being and thinking is inherent. I must tip my hat to my parents for allowing me to develop in the fashion that I have and nurture the values I have to create an internal atmosphere that really does work for me.
I had a chat yesterday during a session about resentment. I made the point that I have never needed someone to tell me that resentment and grudge holding causes suffering. Resentment hurts the beholder much more that the person it is held against. I figured that out at a young age and chose to eliminate it from my consciousness. I wondered how I could explain how I let go again and again of hurt and truly look back on life with rose coloured glasses. This is what I've come up with:
I think what played the biggest role in this is forgiveness. I used to buy into the phrase "Forgive and forget" but now I understand it very differently. To forgive IS to forget in my mind so I've adopted the concept of "Forgive for good". There need not be two steps in the process: the first being forgiveness and the second being the effort to forget and let go. If one has truly forgiven, they have let go. In my mind, this is the only way to be. It's not so much the words of I Forgive You - though nice to hear as a person asking for forgiveness - that matter. Anyone can say that but the healing needs to come from within the person who was hurt. When you truly forgive, you heal.
Until very recently, I forgave pretty blindly. I knew that it would hurt me if I help onto things so I had to figure out a way to stop from drowning under ther people's words and actions. I held onto an almost childlike mind when it came to being hurt - perhaps it was more Alzheimer's-like! I would feel hurt in the moment and if I found myself revisting that pain, I would work towards fogiving that person. I would often wonder why they had hurt me the way they did but knowing that I would often never receive an explaination, I had to discover a way to expel any harbouring of grief that I was doing. Now, I am in a different place. The fundamental idea has not changed - my focus is still to create an internal world with the least suffering possible which is selfish in the best way.
Who hasn't heard "The answer is in you"? I used to get so angry with that because NO, the answer is not in me, this is about someone else. Well, it really is within me! I am learning to discover people's intention, to evaluate where they are coming from and what could possibly be driving them towards hurtful behaviour towards me. I don't need them to tell me and provide that needed explanation because I really can understand from the outside if I step back and look carefully at them and the situation. When I understand, I can move past and I can access undesrtanding from inside me. There is not always an answer and I sometimes find myself confused and truly wondering "Why?" - that's when protecting the child in my mind comes into play. I can access her when I can't understand and explain away a situation and have her look at any situation with no platform to judge from, discover what really works for her, and continue to let go.
Imagine this: You are a child is playing with a friend or sibling. You have limited toys between you but things are going along just fine with you guardian's constant reminder to "share". After a while, your comrad grabs a toy from you and takes it as her own or shows you how it's "supposed" to be played with. At first you might be hurt and frustrated and angry and even maybe take the toy back from her, turn your back and play privately. Then you realize that it was a lot more fun when you were playing together because every other day you play with this toy alone. So, you turn around and somewhere in you choose to fogive your playmate and engage with her again, meeting her on her level. The child that is you maybe can't understand why she was being so selfish, why she didn't just ask to play with the toy you were using? Why couldn't she find another one of the toys available as they are all quite fun? However, she might not even realize she was wrong (no, I can really undesrtand this - perhaps in her home she has not been enabled to get what she needs with kindness, maybe she has to be aggressive to protect her needs and wants - but I could not reach this understanding as a, say, seven year old). Maybe an apology is not forthcoming but it is causing you more suffering to be selfish, to harbour that resentment, to feel mistreated and be hurt by her actions. So you change how you are and what you do with the situation to make it work for you and, thus, take what is pleasant away from the experience. That is the child I refer to.
By enabling that forgiveness, one creates positive memories. That playtime that could have become a memory of hurt and frustration was deposited in memory as one of fun.
What I suppose I am learning now is that that child can forgive for good but does not need to compromise herself. Perhaps in the past, I would have done this through hurting myself or denying myself. I would have turned back to the aggressive friend and given her all my toys to play with and had none for myself because that would at least prevent further hurt or challenges but that doesn't need to occur anymore. I know that I need toys for me to play with and I will hold onto that need and allow myself that need because it works for me and it works for them. I might also consider avoiding the situation again but not out of fear or anger and resentment and certainly without blame, just through an effort to take care of me.
Forgive for good doesn't mean naiivity. It is a complete act but somewhere, perhaps involuntarily, there is a little flag put up but not one that is detrimental or causes suffering and avoidance. Also, it is not a flag I keep in my consciousness. I trust myself to be guided by the subconscious that is there to help me avoid pain and suffering and that I will natually make many efforts to protect myself.
Forgiveness feels good. Letting go is liberating but that doesn't mean that I need to seek out opportunites to experience these things! They are just ways of being that I know I have, that work for me, and enable me to create a present that will become a past that I can look back on more fondly. It doesn't disenable learning or make hurtful actions okay, but it makes me okay despite it all.