I have been thinking, today, about forgiveness, about how hard it is to forgive. We can move on from pain, we can bury it, we can defy it and regret it, but forgiving, absolving and letting go requires a step which is often too hard to take. Forgiving others takes both strength and humility. It requires us to let go of our sense of self, of our sense of ourselves in relation to others. It requires us to stop thinking about status, to give up our status. Often forgiveness, the need for forgiveness, comes when someone has humiliated us. Perhaps they have cheated on us, or embarrassed us with our friends. Perhaps they have hurt us, exercising a power over us which they should not have – physical violence, sexual assault, emotional manipulation. Perhaps they have taken something from us, and in so doing have shown that we are powerless, vulnerable. To forgive requires us to submit to that vulnerability, to admit that we are powerless but, more importantly, that it doesn’t matter. The universe is bigger than us. Someone is always more powerful than us, they have power over us or strip power from us. To forgive is to let that go, to say ‘this is my power‘. I cannot master you, I cannot beat you, I cannot overpower you, but I can absolve you for your actions and in so doing rise above the mire in which we have buried ourselves.
There are things that I need to forgive, that I need to let go of. The past is the past, what has happened has happened. I cannot change it. By dwelling on it I am only harming my own present and I am preventing myself from believing in a hopeful future. Perhaps, most of all I need to forgive myself. I think this is the hardest step of all. I need to forgive myself for being weak (I am weak). I need to forgive myself for being blind (I am blind). I need forgive myself for not being perfect (I am imperfect), for allowing myself to be trapped (we are all trapped), for being naïve (I am naïve). I need to forgive myself for the choices I have made, and most of all for the choices I didn’t make (the future is always dark). If I can forgive myself, then perhaps forgiving others will be a breeze.