What Is Forgiveness?

It's the Act of Making a Decision (Regardless of Whether You Choose to Forgive or Not)

Forgiveness is a Burden.

Forgiveness arrives quickly and without warning following an awful, in some cases downright horrid experience.

Forgiveness doesn’t care that we are already consumed by the sadness, anger, disappointment and/or other negative emotions, and in some cases physical effects of our painful experience.

Forgiveness doesn’t care if the situation was caused by us, or by someone else, intentionally or not in either case.

Forgiveness makes itself right at home and remains with us as a burden we are forced to bear.

Forgiveness is a Choice.

Forgiveness is also a choice. 

When we make a conscious, deliberate choice, it reactives our sense of power, of control, of agency over our lives.

It is this renewed sense of power that transforms forgiveness from a burden within us into a decision we can objectify and stand proud of, one that feels right for us, at least for the time being.

Forgiveness is Freedom, Regardless of the Choice.

The formal definition of forgiveness leads us to believe that it is only the decision to forgive someone for something. This is shortsighted.

The greatest sense of freedom and distance from our painful experience and opportunity for growth comes when we treat forgiveness as the act of making a conscious, deliberate choice, regardless of the actual choice we make.

To forgive, or not to forgive.

There should be no shame in making a conscious choice not to forgive. There are, without question, circumstances when choosing not to forgive is what frees us from the burden and helps us move forward in the healthiest way possible.

Forgiveness In Action.

I choose to forgive you, Dad, for not providing me with the validation and positive reinforcement I so desperately needed as a child. I choose to forgive you for using criticism and unrealistic expectations as your method for getting me to rise to excellence in every area of my life, be it learning to ride a bike, performing in school, handling upsets, etc. I forgive you because I understand that you had parents who used the very same approach with you, despite your obvious vulnerability, and I expect that their parents did the same with them, and so on.

I choose not to forgive you, long ago superior of mine, for telling me you had feelings for me. I choose not to forgive you for offloading onto me your burden of having romantic feelings for your junior employee. I choose not to forgive you for causing me to feel that my professional accomplishments and continued advancement had nothing to do with my intellect, skills, natural talents and hard work. 

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