In relationships, arguments and fall outs are inevitable. People we love may not be likable all the time. Seeing that love is a verb and sometimes requires action that include but are not limited to: compromise, understanding, patience, communication, and forgiveness … the latter can be either what nourishes relationship vitality, the lethal blow that severs the relationship, or twisting knife that perpetuates a toxic dynamic.
Unforgiveness is interesting because it is often misconstrued as a character trait. It can also be misconstrued as being strong. In actuality, unforgiveness is the worm at the core of the soul. It is an emotional parasite that syphons our life force. It is parasitic in nature because it takes a lot of energy to maintain while it purloins precious time that can never be recovered.
How does unforgiveness manifest? How does it grab a hold of us? This excerpt so eloquently sums it up: “many people who have been hurt feel insignificant and powerless; therefore, they try to get their need for significance met by withholding forgiveness. Unforgiveness gives them a sense of power and superiority. If you were ever betrayed by a friend, for a time you may have felt powerless to stop the pain.” – June Hunt
Time does heal, if you allow it; but the tricky thing about unforgiveness is that it requires us to relive the trauma that caused it. It creates a negative feedback loop that we subscribe to and if gone unaddressed, it can lead to bitterness. Bitterness, over time, becomes the norm and can be quite oppressive hindering the ability to thrive in life. While it may seem as though it is harder to forgive and let go, on the contrary, it takes more energy to hang on to the transgression because holding on to the transgression requires fuel. It requires the long painful trip down memory lane and reignition of that initial hurt.
How do we STOP the pain?
Forgiving, much like love, is a verb. The pain must first be addressed irregardless of having received an apology. Making peace with the past, and recognizing that what transpired is in the rearview, and choosing to move forward and focus on today is paramount. It is a personal choice to choose the here and now and rebuke what happened because nothing can change the past. It is a personal choice to choose to take control of the here and the now and seek to bind up the emotional wounds. In making these decisions, we empower ourselves to be able to look at the situation through the scope of our current selves ; With what we know now versus what we knew then, the perspective will be quite distinct from our former selves – and that is a start!