Recently, I contacted someone from my past to reach out after many years of disconnection and deep hurt. As I have gotten older and experienced more of life I have felt the need to mend the hurts of the past. This brings me to write this blog and examine the desire for forgiveness, learning to accept that you may not receive it and why exoneration is important.
What I wanted was for me. I wanted the forgiveness from someone that felt I had disappointed them, hurt them and despite many effort of explanation continued to misunderstand the issue. But as I realized this was about me and the individual was not in a place where they wanted, needed or cared to forgive me. My initial reaction was feeling hurt that this person did not know that despite the fact that the matter was a very big misunderstanding with layers of confusion and misquotes, and a large share of blame on my part, they didn’t really believe me or seem to remember the person that I was and am. That was the difficult part. However, again, this was about me.
When you have been hurt and you hold the grievance within your soul it is difficult to move forward, live in peace or mend the relationship that may be a big part of your life. Those grievance live in your unconscious and manifest themselves in self destructive behaviors. The conflict may affect your other relationships with your family or even affect your mental, physical and spiritual health. For those reasons, you may seek to forgive or if you are the person who has offended another you may be seeking forgiveness. Either way it is about you. You have to ask yourself some serious questions, such as; why should I forgive or why should I be forgiven? Or did the person seek to hurt me or knowingly hurt me? Finally, why do I need to forgive or be forgiven?
If you cannot forgive because you feel that to forgive is to say that the actions were justified and the person was acting accordingly. However, if you feel that the person was acting out of their own misguided belief, misunderstanding or ignorance then you may consider exoneration. Exonerating someone from a wrong simply means that you understand why they did what they did, but that what they did was still incorrect, wrong and unforgivable. Even the small misunderstandings that become painful hurts are better when you allow yourself to accept that you can control your own feelings and move on.
I have exonerated the person that has expressed that they will not forgive me despite my need to be forgiven. I realize that they are basing their feelings on their own set of beliefs about a situation and that is out of my control. I can only control how I feel about them and myself. I know that my actions may not have been appropriate or proper in retrospect and if I had it to do over I would have handle the problem differently. I know that at the time my intentions were good and that under the circumstances and my own understanding, I did the best I could at the time with the information that I had. That is a very important thing to consider when you are asked for forgiveness. Forgiving yourself is one of the hardest parts of moving forward. We are our toughness critic. When you know better, you do better.
In my practice, I work with many adults who were abused as children and when they learn more about their parent’s childhood many times they gain the knowledge to look towards exonerating their parent. It is never easy and can take years of work to gain the peace that you need in your journey; however, you will improve the quality of your life greatly.
In closing, it is all about you. That may sound selfish when you think about being forgiven or giving forgiveness or even when you exonerate someone. We are responsibility for yourselves and we have to be self differentiated enough to not let the emotions, judgments or feelings of others control our lives. You deserve to have peace in your mind and heart. It is difficult to discover, uncover and resolve the hurts of the past but the beauty that comes from moving forward is well worth the effort. If you need help moving past the pain of being hurt by someone in your life, please call me today for a free phone consultation.