In a previous post, I talked a bit about forgiveness. I’m going to flesh it out a little bit now. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what forgiveness is. To start, let’s talk about what it is not: acceptance of a single trespass. You don’t just forgive someone for cheating on you or talking to other guys. Forgiveness is also not just profession. You don’t say you forgive someone for something to throw it in his or her face later.
What is forgiveness then? Forgiveness is true acceptance of the person, flaws and all. It means accepting the person that you meet in the moment, and assessment of his or her place in your life. A wise woman told me that there are people who ride for you and ride with you. Keep in mind, some people aren’t meant to ride at all. Forgiveness is understanding who you have in your life and treating him or her accordingly. Read that again. Being able to know who is who requires some discernment on your part, and is not necessarily without trial and error. When someone consistently shows you who they are, it is on you to believe them. Forgiveness is also about trusting someone to be who they say they are.
Stay with me; we all make mistakes. In a moment, I may have committed an offense against you because I didn’t understand that I disrespected you. It could be because I have some of my own shit going on and I wasn’t as attentive as I could have been, it could be because I was careless in the moment, or it could also be because you and I aren’t on the same vibration in the moment. Once you explain your position to me -and this doesn’t always happen in the moment for many reasons- I can dismiss how you feel or make a conscious effort to be more mindful in the moment. If I can dismiss how you feel without making an effort to understand it or being cognizant of the fact that I might never understand it, you would do well to categorize me with the people who ride with you. When things are good, we can go. When things are hard…you might find me missing. If I’m riding with you, I might not always agree with how you feel or where you are, but I can give you the space to be in that place. I might pray for better outside of those conversations, I might even be fully aware that you can have better than what you seem to be settling for, but I give you the space to grow into that understanding.
See, forgiveness is a two way street. If I show you who I am over and over again, forgiveness is believing me. It means knowing whether I am riding with you or if I am riding for you and treating me accordingly. Since they say that “real recognizes real”, the people who are riding for you might find that some other people that you have in your life are looking real unfamiliar. Forgiveness also means knowing that some people have no idea where they fall in that spectrum- maybe because they don’t even know that for themselves. Forgiveness means accepting that ignorance, whether you chose to give that person the space to work it out for themselves or not. Forgiveness means loving someone from a distance if you have to, because forgiveness is also about loving yourself enough to take the time to learn the difference. Forgiveness starts with self knowledge and self love. It starts with understanding and enforcing your boundaries. How it ends….well, that depends on the relationship you have with yourself and the understanding you have of the other person’s role in your life. It is truly a cumulative process, the Gestalt sum of your life experiences and the experiences you have with the other person. When you offer forgiveness, don’t take it lightly…and remember that people will only due to you what you allow.