Forgiveness is a big word. Forgiveness has a much larger, much more significant meaning than the surface of the word. There are so many questions that come to mind when I think about this one word.
- How can it have so many connections?
- How can it mask so many other emotions, thoughts and experiences?
- How do we get to a place where we are ready to forgive?
- How do we get to a place where we can forgive ourselves?
The definition is:
- 1.the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven:“she is quick to ask forgiveness when she has overstepped the line”
The explanation of the meaning is gendered. Female. “She”. That struck me. That made me angry. That didn’t surprise me. That is outdated. That feels like the culmination of my lived experience. It probably feels like the culmination of other women’s lived experience.
But, I forgive society for the way that this invisible, insidious, negative gender inequality permeates my existence. If I didn’t I’d be angry and bitter and shrew-like. That doesn’t mean I don’t notice it. That doesn’t mean I agree with it and it doesn’t mean that I don’t call it out. I forgive myself for not noticing it when I was younger, for not seeing how it permeates everything. As I get older, I notice it, I mention it, I encourage others to notice it, to mention it, to call it out.
Forgiveness allows me to co-exist with things that I dislike, but age allows me to challenge them. Behind the idea of forgiveness; lies an invisible world of hurt, missed chances or opportunities and little regrets that slips into the psyche and become part of who you are, who I am.
The bible asks us to ““forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” and while I’m not a hugely religious person this resonates, as does so many of the messages that are written down in ***holy books***. We need more than ever to be compassionate, to allow ourselves to forgive and to be forgiven in turn and with that, hopefully find a semblance of peace, in a world full of uncertainty and angst.
Forgiveness for me is remembering the humanity, remembering that we all make mistakes, including myself and remembering that I have to forgive myself for not being able to do everything or be everything to everyone. Forgiveness is about being kind to myself and to those around me and not holding a grudge, as that only causes more suffering and pain.
***I use the expression holy books as the bible is not the only religious guidance that we can take comfort in and I’m not pretending that I’m knowledgeable enough about other religions, but I imagine that the teachings in all religions are in line with being morally sound, caring and respectful. Essentially, the essence of being human.***