This is not the first time I have contemplated the notion of forgiveness, nor the first time I have written about it here -- marveling at the way some people find strength in forgiving. As I wonder about the relationship between forgiving and forgetting ... and how forgiving relates to standing up for oneself.
I feel like forgiveness is one of the least understood actions/phenomenon. It is a concept that I struggle with ... on a regular basis.
Mostly because I don't believe in asking for forgiveness, and that I don't take well to people asking for mine. For me, the more important issue is always compassion. Then I read this article.
I know that we don't all have the luxury of time to read long articles ... but this one is truly worth it in my opinion. This piece takes a look at the action of forgiving, all the pieces and people required in the process from the perspective of restorative justice. Gift yourself with the story of these two families learning to live with forgiveness.
Unlike other stories I have read, this one acknowledges the deep, serious work that forgiveness requires. It is not just, "I'm sorry," and, "Okay, I forgive you..."
It is just not that simple ... even if it is your culture to forgive. If that is true, then there are a set of traits that are necessary to create the condition where the response to wrongs, personal slights, etc., is forgiveness. For instance, a strong sense of self (that doesn't allow you to feel like you are responsible for others' wrongs), the ability to truly feel compassion for others, and the sense that all people deserve the benefit of the doubt.
What I love about the super long article (it's the NY Times Magazine) is that it demonstrates that even though those conditions to not exist, we can still find our way to true forgiveness... by taking the arduous steps required to stare down the fear, the vulnerability, the self-consciousness, etc.
It reveals the complexity and the difficulty without making it impossible. We can get there... I can get there.
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