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New Insight for Forgiveness

Let’s be honest. Forgiveness is not easy.

There have been some significant hurts in my life. It has definitely taken me a while to even consider forgiving the person who hurt me, let alone actually set out to do it. And even when I committed to work through my feelings and forgive them, it was in stages, taking place over years. It felt like I was peeling off layers of pain and anger and grief with each form the forgiveness took. Sometimes I would be sure that I was done, that I had forgiven the person this time! But often I learned, with a new loss or new realization or new change in life, that old hurts could resurface. Can you relate?

Recently I’ve been working on healing from a rough childhood trauma event. In my dream space, in therapy, and in my spiritual practices, I’ve been open to insights regarding

how I can start to understand and heal from this trauma. When I am open, it seems like my eyes see, my ears hear, and my hearts receive things in a more intuitive and surprising way. After a few weeks of specifically attending to this one childhood event, something intuitive and surprising came in.

I am currently reading a book about North Node Astrology, as I am trying to learn more about the placement of the planets and points in our solar system. In this book there was a sentence: “Now I was learning what was mine to heal and what was not.” Suddenly it occurred to me that when I forgive the person who hurt me, I am forgiving just the hurt they caused me. I am not forgiving the reason why they hurt me or the motivatio

n they had to hurt me or the lack of accountability they had when they hurt me or the seeming lack of remorse or awareness that they had caused me deep and lasting harm.

No. All I have to forgive is the act they did to hurt me.

The rest of the “forgiveness” task is their responsibility.

I am learning what is mine to heal and what is not. What is mine to heal, what is my responsibility to repair from this event is the pain that it caused me and how

that pain has impacted my well-being and the well-being of those I love. And it is my responsibility to forgive the person who caused the pain.

What is NOT my responsibility, what is not mine to heal, are all those other things: the why, the lack of remorse, the accountability, etc. These are the responsibility of the person who hurt me. These are the questions that they have to wrestle with and answer.

This realization came as a relief to me. I suddenly had clarity regarding what

I needed to do to further myself along in the work of forgiveness. And it did something else. It activated within me an unexpected compassion for the “work” that the other person has to do—the emotional, relational, spiritual work—in order for them to “heal” from having hurt another human so significantly. Their “work” almost seemed harder and more challenging than mine as there was so much responsibility attached to it. My heart felt like it was opening instead of closing. Forgiveness was feeling like an act of compassion.

And I felt a wave of peace come into me.

I am so grateful.

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1 Comment

Rohma Mujahid
Rohma Mujahid
Sep 25, 2023

I can certainly empathize with the struggle of forgiveness. Forgiving someone who has caused significant hurt is indeed a complex and challenging process. It's not a linear journey but more like a winding path with ups and downs.

Each hurt is like a wound, and forgiveness is the gradual healing process. Just like physical wounds, emotional wounds take time to heal and can leave scars. The layers you mentioned—pain, anger, and grief—are like the scabs that form as part of the healing process. Sometimes, these scabs get ripped open again, especially when facing new challenges or reminders of the past.

Forgiveness is often a cyclical process. It's not unusual to think you've forgiven someone, only to have those feelings resurface.…

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