After new year’s eve, a video resurfaced where-in Pope Francis was greeting the crowd of pilgrims and children. The crowd looked excited, and everyone wanted to shake hands with THE POPE. Suddenly, a woman grabbed his hand. While he tried to move on, the lady pulled him back, and kept saying something. The ‘not-so-gentle’ pull annoyed Pope, and in frustration he slapped her hand and moved on (Video Link).
Do you expect something like this from a Pope? I know, I know, many of you would be surprised to know about Pope’s behavior because isn’t he the one who teaches the world about kindness, compassion?
And when it was time to practice what he preached, he contradicted his teaching!! Oh man!
However, I know there would be different set of people who would see pope as a ‘human being’, a person who in spite of his wisdom and teachings makes mistakes. And there comes real compassion (Pope later issued a public apology for the same).
“The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.” ~ Louise Hay
Now, what if you aren’t like a pope (which you surely are not!), and don’t forgive (which includes forgiving ourselves too) easily? I see your hands raised up! And you can count me in too!
I don’t forgive easily. I love to hold grudges, and decorate it in my grudge cabinet. Like talk to me about my boss from previous company, and I would pick one grudge from my cabinet, and would tell you thousand reasons for why I still hate her.
There are many articles I have read which talks about how good it is to forgive, and move on. They say that it can pretty much offload too much of weight from your shoulders, and I whole-heartedly agree to this.
While I have been successful in forgiving many annoying events and people in my life, there are still many events which are stuck, like a lump in my throat, and doesn’t matter how much I try to spit it out, it’s still there! A little part of me does not want to forgive! Forgiveness feels impossible in many cases. Are we in the same boat, mate? Cheers!
Days ago I was listening to a podcast by Tara Brach, and she said that when we are consciously or unconsciously, not able to forgive, it means we are holding onto a thought, or trauma just so that we can unconsciously protect ourselves from experiencing that pain again.
It simply means that we are yet not ready! Our body knows better. Over years I have learnt that healing is not linear. It takes times to heal wounds, and it take seasons to lighten the scars.
Same goes with forgiveness. It needs patience and love. A little part of our body needs us, and our inner child wants to hear that, ‘It’s okay if you can’t forgive now. We will keep doing it, and someday we will be successful.’ And I have noticed that it releases some blocked energy. I mean, it really works, even if you are not that ‘into’ your body to notice it.This simple ritual says that it’s good if we do not judge ourselves.
You see I can say to myself, ‘All the spiritual talks you talk, books you read is bullshit. You haven’t learned anything if you can’t forgive! You definitely need a spiritual retreat once again!’
“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” ~ Marvin J. Ashton
Come On! It don’t need anything external to validate myself. A little love, and self-compassion is what I need. Therefore, here I am ‘Forgiving myself for not forgiving’.
Once I tried to dive deeper into finding the reason about ‘why can’t I forgive’, and I found an underlying fear that if I forgive, someone ‘else’ will do it again. It’s like creating an imaginary shield in my mind. But the truth is whether we forgive or not, it has nothing to do with other person’s behavior. People do what they want to do. They rarely think from other’s perspective, simply because they can’t.
We can not control how others see the world, but then we can define our boundaries.The fact is, we do have a choice, though we are not aware of it most of the times.
I mean I HAD a choice when my manager talked rudely to me, and the choice was to respond though calmly yet assertively, and it could have led me to the situation where I had one ‘less’ grudge in my grudge cabinet.
As soon as we decide that we won’t tolerate ‘something’, there comes the power, and a plan on how we can do it. (I am still defining my boundaries, so count me in here too, mate!). And I am learning this slowly.
Over the years, number of self-help books have taught me that ‘how a person behaves’ has nothing to do with ‘me’, it’s all about his past life, his piled up stories, his griefs and insecurities. While it still causes irritation to think that ‘why I am being treated badly for what he/she has experienced‘, it actually helps to calm down a little bit, and let go of the anger. (Pic on right: Just to fill the page. Lol).
It reminds me of one of my annoying managers in India. Every time he would shout at one of the team members, we would joke, ‘Aaaj fir biwi se lad kar aaya hoga.‘ (He sure would have fought with his wife today again.), and this would cheer our mood.
Final thought: Every action which is inspired by ‘Love for ourselves‘ is bound to heal us. And while we stress enough on giving love to others, showering the world with kindness and compassion, the first person who deserves our is ourselves. While we all strive to be perfect, just accepting ourselves as we are now, and at the same time working towards healing, is incredibly powerful.
I hope we all learn to have faith in ourselves, and our unimaginable healing power.
Ankitta, first and foremost nice article. I disagree on the women thing. Can you count the number of times you or any woman has stood up to speak up their mind and the issue at hand and draw that line? Yes, we don’t forget (forgive) in a fear that the same incident may happen again and at times even telling assertively and affirmatively – is not taken well by our loved ones and then there comes a choice if you wish to speak up or just let go for another hurtful event to happen.
It’s a long way for us to speak up and heal ourselves – at least as a woman.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Rachana <3
Thank you for writing this ankita, i keep reading your answers on Quora and they are very helpful to readers like us, but this one is special because I have been trying to forgive someone but it’s been a struggle. I now know why and can work on jt. Thanks a lot and wish you a speedy recovery ?
I am soo happy to know that it helped Kashyap 🙂 Keep loving, keep living. 🙂
Beautifully written Ankita 🙂
I have generally observed forgiving brings lot of inner peace to ourselves ?
Indeed it does. And I have observed that guys forgive easily, while the ladies take time. They roast the incident, fry it, and chew it till it burns their heart. Ouch!