Too many people are socialized to believe in playing nicely after they have been hurt and they feel that by forgiving someone, you will be a good person, a just person, and that you are in the very least, 'bigger' than they are. Instant Peace 'O Mind. Right?

The cold reality arises when you are surprised by someone’s bad behaviour. This may have been the 25th time you have been hurt, but this time, it was done by a person you held in such high regard!

So the guessing game on how or if it’s worth forgiving someone after a major transgression has occurred.

 There is some value in the statement that a person should mess up once, and not be given a second chance.

This is not a whimsical assessment but it’s actually based on the generous assumption that this person will most likely hurt you again!

* There is the situation a client of mine is in right now, where her ex has called her for the first time in months after a very painful break up.  She is holding onto her anger like a badge of pride. This anger is a valuable tool for her, in maintaining her security for now.

She felt hurt by his behaviour, and on seeing the truth, does not necessarily want to forgive him. I feel that in this case it’s completely worth the effort in resisting forgiveness while it feels good. I think even the illusion of not forgiving someone can help us retain power. The spiritual notion of forgiveness doesn’t sit well when you don’t understand why you cannot let go of the person that hurt you most.

I would say that the notion of indiscriminately forgiving the person may lead us to feel powerless.

**I think forgiveness works well when we apply it to ourselves. This person realised that indeed it was not her that ruined this relationship, but that indeed, the problem lay with him. She was not ugly, nor stupid, not worthless – he was the biggest loser. She can hold onto that for as long as she needs to!

 I feel as I go on in life, I forgive less and less. Does that make me a lesser ( colder ) person? Or do I need to forgive myself for not forgiving, because it preserves my power, and my spirit?

 The problem arises when I feel the other person’s pain. Trying to not heal that person is extremely difficult. I do not like leaving anyone in pain. I want everyone to be OK. That instinct in me is very strong, and sometimes, upon feeling the loss of someone, I want to make that person feel better, so that I can feel better.

 Many of us are extremely nurturing, and forgiveness is the easiest and most instinctive place to start. We have been taught that our role in life is to make others feel better, and
one sometimes feels temporarily better falling into this pattern.

What happens when healing or forgiving someone else doesn’t make one feel better?
Is forgiveness then right?

Copyright Carmen Miro 2007

* Thank you unnamed client, for your story!

** This is in reference to Romantic Relationships, not everyone in life.