The subject of forgiveness brings out strong emotions for many of us. For me, forgiveness was different in different circumstances. Sometimes I made a decision to forgive and I did just that. Other times it took time and effort to come to that conclusion. I wanted to forgive so that I could be free. At the same time I did not think it was fair to let them off the hook. Sometimes my anger made me feel safe from them. In order to forgive I had to work through all that.
Sometimes I have even fantasied the person that hurt me begging for my forgiveness. I pictured them having profound regret and sorrow for what they had done. But the truth of the matter is that some of the people that hurt me had no regret and they could have cared less if I forgave them or not. So where did that leave me. For a long time it left me in the clutches. Just thinking about them hurt me all over again.
But then I found these Steps. It was through these steps that I learned how to forgive. In Steps 4 & 5 I learned a lot about myself. I learned that it was not my fault. I learned how to see myself in a balanced way. Not all good and not all bad. I was able to see how much time and energy I gave to this hurt and I was able to see why I felt it was necessary to hang onto my resentment.
Thanks to these Steps I learned to love myself and I learned to not allow or accept abuse from others. Abuse was not okay. I learned that I could forgive you and at the same time not allow you in my life. Forgiveness did not mean that we had to be friends or even in a relationship. I did not know that before. In forgiving I was moving on without you and without no residual negative influence from you. I also learned that forgiveness, many times, could not fix things as if they had never happened. They did happen; so now what? Forgiveness was my decision to no long be sick; to no longer be a victim; to no longer be under your control. You may not have changed, but through forgiveness I did and I was moving on.
For me forgiveness was just like most everything else in this program; it was a process. Every once in a while, pain from old wounds will sneak up on me and momentarily trigger old feelings. When this happens I immediately go on alert to things happening in my life. What happened that made me feel threaten. Why has this resurfaced? Something is going on that I need to pay attention to. When this happens I go back to the Steps and I do a mini inventory. There is always a reason. I am no longer afraid or naive about the world around me. Thanks to these Steps I have a new respect for myself and that means I am no longer willing to accept unacceptable in my life. Co-dependent Life