So I was bitten by my dog last night and it got me thinking about Forgiveness…
I accidentally startled my little dog while he was sleeping. The bite itself was insignificant but the shock of it affected me and I began to cry. My initial trigger was to feel upset, slighted, unloved, a victim. When I calmed down, I realised that he was just acting on reflex, out of instinct. This was no act of cold blood to purposely hurt me or anything against me at all just an animal reaction.
I saw how easy it was in this moment to make a story about things, to feel sorry for yourself to make yourself feel not good enough, unloved and a victim. My poor little doggy was just sleeping soundly and I made him jump so he reacted. That doesn’t mean he hates me and all the other feelings that can arise when triggered. Obviously, I forgave him immediately and still love him unconditionally holding no grudge or malice.
I then got thinking about how this is really no different to how people unknowingly hurt each other but the same forgiveness isn’t quite there.
Wounded people act out of reflex and instinct due to triggers (as I did initially) from past wounds. All people who hurt others in some way have been hurt themselves and perpetuate the cycle.
So, the only way to break this cycle is with love and forgiveness. I am going to try and remember my experience with my dog the next time I am triggered by someone or something and attempt to choose love, compassion, understanding and forgiveness instead of reacting.
Similarly, in situations where I may have caused any hurt – remembering to have love, compassion and forgiveness for myself.
Our expectations can be way too high of each other. Much more understanding is needed, aiming for less conflict and more compassion for each other.
Conflict can have a deeper meaning than the surface argument. Each person has their own conditioning, beliefs, fears and wounds driving their behaviour and emotions. The way we communicate should change to enable us to develop mutual respect and understanding.
The repression of emotions can also be a huge factor – feelings building up like a pressure cooker inside can only lead to an explosive outcome one way or another!
As intelligent beings we ought to start recognising these factors and hold space for ourselves and each other to express ourselves fully without judgement.
We are not all meant to be the same, to think the same, to behave the same. We are unique beings all with our own take on and contribution to this world. Who is anyone to stifle anyone else, or to tell them how to be. It is their journey of discovery, their lessons to learn.
Having said that, this doesn’t mean we should tolerate behaviour that causes us harm. But we can be more understanding and forgiving when this happens. Then love ourselves and that person enough to either set boundaries or remove them from our life.
Forgiveness is not enabling or accepting bad behaviour it is setting yourself free (not making it be about you, making a story about it). Freeing yourself from the anger, the hurt and learning any lessons from the situation.
It also doesn’t mean letting things go and allowing the person to keep hurting you. This is no good for either party. Sometimes the act of love is goodbye. We are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but our own. We each have our own journey to learn what we need to learn and evolve through this life. It is not up to us to try and change or ‘fix’ others. Trying to do that can often come from a co-dependent need to feel needed/significant.
This is also an excellent point for reflection if you are the person who has been told goodbye or given boundaries. Instead of feeling wounded try and look at what you can learn from this. Why did this happen? What is it showing you about yourself? How can you make this better in the future? Find the gift in the experience…
Ultimately, we are all wounded people and the majority of us try looking for people, things, situations, status to make us feel better.
In the end we can only take responsibility for our own happiness and heal our own wounds (regardless of who caused them) and learn to love and forgive ourselves.
Then we start to see and reflect this out into the world to others.