Forgiveness--Sticking with the Theme

by Monica Ross

I was curating content for my facebook page this week and I came across this video from Oprah on the topic of forgiveness. Gotta love the 90s clothes lol. I can remember being that age and watching her throughout the 80s and 90s. It brings back memories of being a teenager in a small town in Texas. When talking about forgiveness, the gentleman in the video talks about seeing people in the light of love instead of in the action that happened. He also says it’s about letting go of the past that we thought we wanted. I love that...letting go of the past that we thought we wanted.

Oprah adds that it is also about letting go of the hope that the past could be any different. Forgiveness she goes on to say is not about accepting what has happened to you, but that it has happened to you. Which means it's not about accepting that it was okay for it to happen, but that it did happen.

So forgiveness becomes an act of self-care.  We let go so that we are not held hostage by the past. When I came across this video the other morning, I felt so grateful. The universe always seems to find a way of sending me these nuggets of wisdom at the exact moment that I need them.

I have so much empathy when this happens for my clients--the act of holding on to something.  Because I can relate, absolutely.  I myself came across the issue this past week even in my own personal life. I was holding a grudge.  When someone comes along and disappoints you it’s really easy to claim some kind of moral high ground and complain about the injustice of it all.

People do and say shitty things to other people, on purpose even at times. But you know what? At the end of the day, when all is said and done, it’s about letting it all go. Did we maybe want for things to go down differently? Probably. Would we rather that person not have disrespected us? Likely. But did they? Yes.

We can’t change that. If we keep our focus on what we cannot change, it’s a losing battle. On the one hand as therapists I think we want to validate the injustice, of course. On the other hand, it’s about encouraging our clients to move on.

Again, moving on is not about saying that it was okay for it happen, whatever it was. It’s about acknowledging that there’s no way now of going back to the event and making things play out any differently. It’s about accepting that it did happen, whatever it was and focusing on moving forward.

When we keep our focus on looking at people in the light of love I think that tremendous healing can take place. The word namaste pronounced na-ma-stay comes to mind. One definition is “I honor the place in you where the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you that is of light, love, truth, peace, and wisdom. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, We Are One."

To me this means that if I care about myself, if I have a vested self-interest then I have an interest in others as well because there really is no difference between where I end and you begin. I may lose some people here with that statement, it’s also the idea behind quantum physics. We are all connected at the quantum level.

This video talks more about the concept of quantum entanglement. So, if we are all connected then why do we act as though we are not? Maybe on some level it’s disturbing to think we are all connected because especially in Western culture we want to maintain this notion of independence of separateness as a cultural value.

Certainly in psychology we talk about the negative effects of things like enmeshment in family systems where one or the other family member finds it difficult to maintain a separate sense of self, so I don't think it's about swinging completely the opposite way either. I think it’s about balance.

We are both separate and one and it’s about the ability to sit with the idea of both--both/and. We know with healthy marriages it’s the same. Here’s a poem I really like. I read it at a friend’s wedding once several years ago.  It reinforces the concept of together but separate.

"To Love is Not to Possess" - James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess, To own or imprison, Nor to lose one's self in another. Love is to join and separate, To walk alone and together, To find a laughing freedom That lonely isolation does not permit. It is finally to be able To be who we really are No longer clinging in childish dependency Nor docilely living separate lives in silence, It is to be perfectly one's self And perfectly joined in permanent commitment To another--and to one's inner self.

Love only endures when it moves like waves, Receding and returning gently or passionately, Or moving lovingly like the tide In the moon's own predictable harmony, Because finally, despite a child's scars Or an adult's deepest wounds, They are openly free to be Who they really are--and always secretly were, In the very core of their being Where true and lasting love can alone abide.