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The Pain that Binds Us: Forgiveness

November 30,2017 By: Mansi poddar

images (3)If we want a lighter heart and more love, we have to set our prisoners free. By clearing our conscience, we make room for more. It’s very difficult to let go of past pain, but by accepting its existence and being committed to releasing the past, we can gain some freedom from the pain that binds us.

We often struggle with the concept of forgiveness. What does it really mean? How do we practice it? Many view forgiveness as a way of condoning wrong. For e.g. we think forgiving an affair can mean we support it. In fact, we can only forgive what we know to be wrong. Forgiveness does not mean having to continue being in a relationship with a person who has wronged us or love them, but rather, to let go and stop dwelling on revenge thoughts or harbouring hate. We do not need to reconcile with those who have hurt us, in order to forgive.

images (4)Another misconception is that it depends on whether the person who did us wrong apologizes, wants us back, or changes his or her ways. If another person’s poor behaviour were the primary determinant of us healing, then the unkind and selfish people in our life would retain power over us indefinitely. Forgiveness is the experience of finding peace inside and can neither be compelled nor stopped by another.

Forgiveness is a way to heal our heart, lighten our mind and be free. The hurt has been done; we need not continue hurting ourselves by holding onto it. Instead, we can take constructive steps to set stronger boundaries, make changes, let go of negative relationships etc.

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The other person might be free of their actions, maybe they have justified it in their minds, but if we hold onto it, we continue to carry forth negative energy into our lives, which often consolidates into bitterness.

Some tips to understand this concept better and work around it:

  • Talk to someone about the emotions surrounding what happened.
  • When we start to dwell on the event, lets remind ourselves that the anger and hate that well up, only harm us and cause disease.
  • By not letting go, we give the person power over our lives and mind, and continue to let them hurt us.
  • If possible, remember that all humans actually make the best choices in a given situation. Only with experience and in hindsight can we say whether an action was wise or unwise.
  • Anger also results from the fact that we believe no one should hurt us, or personal relationships should be perfect. This won’t happen. We hurt people and people hurt us. We have to accept this
  • Often people land up hurting us unintentionally- lets try to think from the other person viewpoint- what would we have done in their place? Could they have a reason for their action?
  • Anger can be useful in motivating action towards a better life, but once the situation is past, it loses this potential. Is our anger at what happens to help our present life or our future?
  • Let’s take responsibility for your own emotional state and choices. If you choose to be in a relationship with the person, remember you made a choice to continue.
  • Sometimes we act out of instinct more than sense, and sometimes we act from a place of fear
  • People’s ideas of right and wrong differ- however much we try to harmonise ethics, we can never speak for another, only ourselves.

images (5)Forgiveness has nothing to with anyone else, but us. We heal our pain and make way for the new, others can’t do that for us: the healing is our journey.