Archive for May 2005

my shiny new spaceship

posted by Walter Grio

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Forgiving does not mean to forget.
Forgiving does not mean to excuse.
Forgiving does not mean to demand.
Forgiving does not mean to deny.
Forgiving does not mean to destroy.
Forgiving means to forgive.

Many reasons exist that can justify our want for eradicating someone from our lives. For the most part, we simply don’t have the energy or the emotional capacity to deal with those people. So in order to move forward, we choose to remove them from our lives so that we never have to deal with them again. There is a sense of pride and maybe some relief, but those are simply masked entities that are typically worn by anger and regret.

Forgiveness is powerful and therapeutic. Forgiveness empowers you and frees you from negative thoughts. Forgiveness allows you to accept the person as a whole. You accept their faults just as you would accept the thorns of a rose. This does not imply that you will allow yourself to continually get hurt. It simply means that you acknowledge that they are capable of hurting you, so you make adjustments in the way that you treat them.

Forgiveness is not easy nor is it logical. It is irrational. It is insane. But once you have a full understanding of forgiveness, you will realize that by not doing this, you are merely depriving yourself of a burden free life.

When I started to think about forgiveness, I started asking many questions. After thinking and speaking with others, the most difficult question for me was, “How can you forgive if you can’t forget?” I always had a hard time with this concept because one can never truly forget. If you could, then it would be a moot point. If you could erase the memory of the particular event, then it would appear as if it never happened. Then it means that you didn’t forgive. It simply means that you forgot.

So it’s critical to think that forgiving does not equate to forgetting. They are completely different actions and even though you may achieve a similar end result of not being hurt, it’s completely false to think that they are one in the same.

Forgiveness does not excuse the improper action towards you. It simply means that you are willing to move forward with the relationship with the intent that the improper action will no longer happen. If it continues to happen, then the problem lies not in forgiveness, but rather in lack of trust. It's also critical to understand that forgiveness does not mean renewed trust.

Trust is an illusion. It is intangible. It doesn’t exist. It is not empirical. It exists only in your mind. It can be as big as you want it to be. Or it could be as small. It’s really your choice. Trust built on solid rock over a period of several years can be easily shattered by a falling leaf in one instant. It can be blown away by a whisper.

Trust is the fake lubricant in every human interaction. Trust is the magical grease, the mythical oil that allows you to glide through a relationship. When the illusion of trust is removed, what you experience is friction. And when friction strikes, it propagates anger and resentment. So you halt everything. You pull the emergency brakes. You stop moving forward. You break the relationship. And it’s because trust has been broken and the grease has dried up. So you move forward by applying more grease until the illusion of trust is reborn. Or you may simply choose to walk away.

Forgiveness, on the other hand, is not an illusion. Forgiveness is not blind faith. Forgiveness is not a deaf emotion. Forgiveness is clairvoyance.

When you allow yourself to see the individual as a whole, you are able to make rational decisions on how to deal with them. You realize that they are incapable of a particular task. When you give someone a fragile piece, and they continually break it into a thousand pieces, it’s obvious that they are incapable of keeping that piece intact. This will hurt you.

What forgiveness allows you to do is give them a different piece. You make adjustments in what you give them. If they keep breaking your china, give them paper plates, but you don’t stop feeding them. If you are constantly disappointed by a particular person, then what you do is put yourself in a situation where you will not be disappointed. If you are constantly rejected by an individual because they don’t accept you or your interests or anything that is important to you, then you stop providing them an opportunity to reject you. It doesn’t mean that you take them off your list. It simply means that you make adjustments in the way you deal with them.

The thorns are their abilities to disappoint and reject, so in order for you to stop getting hurt, you stop poking at the thorns. Stay away from the thorns. Move forward with the understanding that their thorns are capable of hurting you.

When you continue the relationship, it is still a frictionless state because you’re staying away from their thorns. You don’t need the illusion of trust or grease. You forgive them for their mistakes or for their inability to perform a particular task. You have no animosity or resentment.

Forgiveness allows you to make adjustments. Forgiveness bends and never breaks.

Forgiveness does not mean to demand. If you truly forgive someone, it does not mean that you force the individual to live by your own rules. Just because it’s right for you, doesn’t mean that it’s right. Take a vampire for instance. They need your blood to continue to live, but it doesn’t mean that it’s right for them to take a bite and suck the life out of you. If you force an individual to give you what you need, and they don’t want to or they can’t, then you are simply sucking the life out of your relationship. If this continues, then you have to make adjustments. You have to accept that the specific person cannot provide you what you need. And you have to move on and find a different source for whatever void you are trying to fill. It still doesn’t mean that you have kicked them out of your life. It simply means that they serve a different purpose.

Forgiveness does not mean to deny. You may choose to spend less time with the individual because their actions contradict your set of rules or your way of life. But it does not mean that you deny them the freedom or their free will to live the way that they want to live. It does not mean to deny them a choice. It does not mean you give them an ultimatum. Once you deny an individual a choice, it means that you are willing to sever your connection with that individual. You give them no alternatives other than to conform to your wants, and instead of forgiving them and letting them be themselves, you mold them to follow your rules. They become a flock of sheep or sock puppets as opposed to a group of friends.

Forgiveness does not mean to destroy. To forgive means to heal or to repair. This may be the toughest and most difficult thing to understand. If you truly forgive someone, it means that you are willing and are accepting of the person as a whole. And if you choose to detach yourself from the person completely, it means that you have not achieved forgiveness. You are removing their existence from your life to help you forget their wrongdoings and the hurt that came with them. It’s one thing to put someone on probation, but it’s another thing to put them on death row.

Forgiveness requires humility, understanding, and compassion. If you can forgive yourself for the mistakes that you have made, then you have to be able to forgive those who make mistakes. Not doing so would be hypocritical. The first step before you judge anyone is to first judge yourself. How you live your life should dictate how you treat others. Forgiveness allows you to move forward without regret. Forgiveness allows you to be emotionally and mentally clairvoyant. Forgiveness allows you to keep the doors to your heart unlocked.

The most difficult task is the process of detachment. In most cases, during a breakup, you will go through some process or some check list before you can consider yourself completely over the situation. This could take weeks, months, or years. It's difficult. This is forgiveness at the cost of falling out of love.

In order to forgive someone you're in love with, you must first detach yourself from them (emotionally, mentally, etc). In order to forgive them, you must be able to eradicate all types of emotions that you have for them, which includes positive and negative emotions. Forgiveness can only begin once you have removed your emotional investment to a person. If you still hold any feelings for someone you have lost, then you have not completely forgiven them. So in order to forgive them, you must first detach yourself. It's forgiveness at the cost of falling out of love.

Are there different levels of forgiveness? Some wrongs make it harder to forgive and thus requires more time and effort for forgiveness to come about, but isn't the ultimate goal the same in all cases? And if so then if you allow someone to remain in your life for one type of wrong, why not another? There are practical reasons for keeping someone out of your life. One could be physical or constant verbal abuse. If you have someone who abuses you, then there is no choice other than to stay away from them. You may still forgive them though.

Another example could be in death. In this case, you have two choices. One is to forgive them for leaving you and to help ease the pain that the loss has created. Or you could hang on to the animosity and the regret. Again, the choice is up to you.

I think that there are different levels of effort when trying to achieve forgiveness. Some things take longer than others. But I think that if you constantly strive to forgive everything, then you are practicing and working towards a much truer catharsis.

Forgiveness could be compared to running a marathon or even riding a bike in long distances. If you've never done it before, then it's extremely difficult even to walk around the block. But if you practice and take small steps, eventually running 5 miles or 10 miles or 26.2 miles will be nothing. The more you do it and the more you practice, the easier it becomes.

However, it's not as if you can suddenly turn on a switch and say "I forgive you." It's a process and each person and situation have a different timetable. For most of us, the easiest way to clear our minds is to purge the person from our life. It makes it more convenient to move forward without any emotional attachment when they're out of sight. But at the same time, what you're achieving is not forgiveness. What you are doing is trying to forget.

It's critical to understand that they are not one in the same. The most arduous task of forgiving is when it relates to death. When someone dies, the grieving process takes over. There are no set tasks or predetermined course of action that works for everyone. But if there’s one thing that is common throughout the healing process is that in the end, you must eventually forgive the individual. Sometimes we feel as though they left us no choice. This plays most when an individual chooses to take their life. We blame them for leaving us. We resent them for what they did. We feel disappointed by their action. In death, you have two choices. You can hold on to the anger or you can let forgiveness dissolve your pain.

Forgiveness is difficult and time consuming. It doesn’t happen quickly. Emotions come into play and it clouds all faculties, but just like anything else, time allows you to let emotions settle down. When it does, your options are clearer. And when you allow yourself to forgive others or yourself, you will realize that what you’re doing is eradicating hatred, sorrow, and regret. This makes it easier to turn the page.

Forgiveness is a spaceship. Once you hop on, you’ll go where you’ve never gone before. You may choose to never eat his panbread again because it tastes like dirt, but you may forgive him and eat peaches instead.

Forgive us for our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Forgive the vampires for they know not what they do. They are just vampires. This is a picture of my spaceship.