Saturday, July 20, 2013

There's Nothing to Forgive

I recently had the experience of - well, in order to keep this from getting too personal let's make it theoretical.

Imagine you have a neighbour you've lived next to for over 20 years. The relationship isn't good. Over the years you've done things to tick him off, and he's done the same. You finally decide you are tired of the resentments and grudges you are holding, and it's time to forgive him.

So you sit down with a pencil and sheet of paper and write out a list. Twenty years ago he did this - I forgive him. Fifteen years ago I did that, and I forgive myself. Twelve years ago he did that; now I let it go. Last year he did this, but I forgive him. Just last month I did that, and I forgive myself.

You finish the list and wait for the feeling of euphoria that is supposed to come with forgiveness, but nothing happens. You think maybe you didn't do it right, and try again. Still the same result. It just somehow seems that all those things that happened over the years aren't such a big deal.

I was trying to figure this out when someone explained it to me in a way that made it all make sense. She said there are four steps to forgiveness.

Step 1 - forgive the other person
Step 2 - forgive yourself
Step 3 - be grateful for the entire experience

So far so good. But I was totally unprepared for the final step.

Step 4 - realize there is nothing to forgive, because you chose the experience.

You chose to move next to your neighbor those many years ago, and stay in that location. Over the years, stuff happened. From where he was emotionally, he did things to irritate you, things to which you responded. And you did things to annoy him, to which he reacted. Now it's time to just let it all go. But there's nothing to forgive.

 

10 comments:

Susanne said...

Never heard that one before - interesting!

ek said...

But what if the story seemed more like this..... you have two neighbors who annoy each other for over twenty years (A and B). Neighbor 'B' has had enough and one day sets off a bomb that explodes neighbor 'A's house. Neighbor A is heartbroken and destroyed and to this neighbor B says well I forgive you, you should forgive me, and lets just move on.

Now obviously it would be easier for neighbor B to move on. Their house wasn't shattered.

Here's the bigger question.... Does neighbor B deserve forgiveness if they take no steps towards reconciliation.... Sure neighbor B can say "I forgive you", but when their house wasn't the one blown up, their words appear to be pretty empty.

ek said...

also.... is it really reasonable to expect neighbor A to be grateful for the experience of having their home blown up, or to have the attitude that their is nothing to forgive?

Waneta said...

Why bother with 1-3 if 4 is the ultimate answer?

aemish said...

Weeee! You're back :D

Sorry about your neighbor, and I may not use the word euphoria to describe forgiveness; but peace, certainly.

I so look forward to reading your further writings. They never fail to move my thoughts.

{{{{hugs}}}}

missed you :)

aemish said...

Please don't let me stop you.. where are you? Was I too harsh? I am embarrassingly abrasive (and apparently narcissistic at the same time) :/

aemish said...

The short film at the end of this is great :p

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ysxz5Ug70G0

aemish said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCeHLdilnls

miss you....

KC Allan said...

Physical violence and petty slights are not morally equivalent

KC Allan said...

Physical violence and petty slights are not morally equivalent