“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” – RUMI
I wrote this blog for those who want to forgive and are ready to do so. If you are not ready to forgive or even to process what has happened, that is okay too. It’s not yet the right time for you to read this blog.
When someone breaches your trust, crosses a boundary or deeply hurts you, you often say, “that’s not right”. Your sense of fairness comes in to play, and this sense tells you “it’s not fair, it’s not right”. In this situation, Tara Brach, who is a mindfulness-based therapist specializing in trauma and forgiveness, asks, “Not right. Compared to what?”. Maybe you compare yourself with others, unfair situations with fair situations, mistakes with perfection. Most of the time you think you should be different, and you blame yourself for how you are. As you do this to yourself, how can it be possible to not do the same thing to others? And when you are deeply hurt, imagine how difficult it is to forgive someone when there is blame, sense of unfairness, and fantasizing about perfection.
Tara Brach introduces a concept called “wise discrimination”. I believe in the importance of understanding this concept and applying in your lives, especially in forgiveness work. She suggests, “ … you could have the thought: When I am angry and critical, my partner gets defensive and can’t hear my message. That is a real thought. It is not the living truth, but it is a useful thought. That is wise discrimination. But what if you have this thought instead: When I’m angry and critical, that proves that I am a bad person, that I will never change, and I will always drive people away. Real but not true. It is not useful. It creates separation”. During forgiveness work I like clients to start with identifying the thoughts that are creating separation, anger, division and more hatred.
I will work with your useful thoughts and I aim to teach you the ones that are not useful, (the thoughts that act like a barrier between you and your ability to forgive). One of the main barriers in forgiveness work is the barrier of blame. This blame can be inward, such as “It’s my fault that I believed him that he was telling me the truth, I am so stupid” or this blame can be outward, such as “It’s his fault that he lied to me”. It really doesn’t matter. A blame is blame and always a barrier when it’s not processed.
Forgiveness is letting go of the barriers of blame, without letting go of wise discrimination. You are letting go of a closed, tight fisted heart and once you see the barriers, there is kindness towards it. I am aware that letting go is not easy. Also, forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened and continuing to live your life as if nothing has happened. Letting go means freeing yourself from the barriers of blame and re-connecting with yourself.
If letting go of the blame or forgiving someone who deeply hurt you is something you currently struggle with, I am here to help. Please schedule an individual session.