Forgiveness. Forgiveness is so many things to so many people. Forgiveness and how we go about it is always changing, but at its very core forgiveness will always mean breaking free of the chains that have kept us connected with a situation or person that no longer serves us. The sense of freedom that you will feel is immediate. The relief is palpable. The tension all but dissipates as if it never existed in the first place.
However, like everything else in the realm of consciousness, forgiveness is not cut and dry and is a multi-faceted concept that is continuously challenged and refined throughout your journey.
Our first instinct when we have been hurt is to be angry. It is a natural reaction and usually that anger morphs into more severe versions of itself as we grow older. We learn the concepts of hate, revenge and withholding forgiveness and how to apply them to situations or people. So the same situation when you were younger that would have mildly angered you and been let go of shortly thereafter then becomes something you hold onto and seek out ways to make the other person feel worse than they made you feel. What also happens during this time where forgiveness is not an important practice for you is that you separate from love and Source.
This separation causes you to believe that attempting to inflict that same pain upon someone else will make you feel better.
People will hurt you. You will hurt people. We all make mistakes and before you can successfully practice the art of true forgiveness, you must understand that part of yourself which allows you to do something that you know will hurt someone else. Once you acknowledge and understand that part of yourself, you will find it easier to forgive others more quickly.
True forgiveness is mutually beneficial, of course. Whether the other person desires your forgiveness or not, forgiving them is still important. True forgiveness is never really for the other person, however, it is for you and you alone. Forgiveness is mutually beneficial in the respect that when someone hurts you, you realign with love and forgive them and when you hurt someone you realign with self-love and forgive yourself. A concept that I call “conscious self-forgiveness.”
Conscious self-forgiveness means that you are able to look at your actions so that you can identify the root cause of what caused you to do something hurtful towards someone else, figure out how to prevent yourself from doing it again in the future, acknowledging that you were wrong, attempting to make amends with the person(s) affected by your actions and then loving yourself enough to forgive yourself even if other people won’t or are unable to yet.
Conscious self-forgiveness teaches you the discipline of holding yourself accountable without holding yourself hostage in a situation that can be used as a teachable moment on your journey.
Conscious self-forgiveness means that you recognize the separation between your highest self and your earthly self, but that you honor making mistakes as a part of your human experience and choose not to use that as a reason to halt, pause or slow your spiritual advancement.
Forgiveness is a crucial practice in your higher consciousness because as I discussed in the first part of this series, love is at the very core of consciousness. “In conscious awareness, love and forgiveness are separate, not co-dependent. In surface level, unconscious human experience or everyday life, love and forgiveness mingle. That is to say, they both play a part in either a decision to forgive someone out of love or to love someone out of forgiveness.”
What I mean by this is that when you’re consciously aware, the love that you have for people isn’t contingent upon a person’s actions. Therefore, forgiveness becomes an acknowledgment that someone did something that hurt you or betrayed your trust, but is not the defining factor of the capacity in which you love this person. You understand that this person deviated from love and the place in which he/she acted from isn’t the complete picture of who he/she truly is. Conscious forgiveness gives you the ability to forgive without conditions and to still love that person unconditionally.
Perhaps the most complex part of conscious forgiveness is accessing your power in re-structuring how you deal with people who have hurt you or betrayed your trust.
I love what Alex Elle says about it, “Forgiveness does not mean re-entry.”
In instances of unconscious forgiveness, we typically forgive out of fear, not out of love. For example, your partner cheats on you and betrays your trust and you’re scared that you won’t meet anyone else, so you fake-forgive them and try to forget it, when in actuality it is killing you inside and you bring it up every chance you get it. Or your friend consistently flakes out on plans you make together which hurts you, but because you don’t think you have many friends or will be able to find amazing new ones, you keep “forgiving” this friend to keep him/her around for false sense of security purposes.
Unconscious forgiveness is fear-based and usually keeps people around you who, based on their actions, don’t deserve to be around you or in your life.
Initially, this was a tough pill for me to swallow because I was so scared of being or feeling alone that I always forgave people out of fear and not out of love or self-love.
Self-love teaches that you are of value and that you do not need any situation or person that attempts to challenge, take advantage of, or disrupt that value. Self-love reminds us that our love, time and energy are precious and though infinite in capacity and given freely, do not come from a place of naiveté.
Conscious forgiveness means you will become best friends with the concept of “loving from a distance.”
Given, every situation where forgiveness comes into play will be different. Some situations don’t call for a person being immediately cut from your life and loved from a distance, while some situations most certainly do. Exercise this concept with care and mindfulness.
Conscious forgiveness is beautiful and always the favored method.
Loving from a distance is also beautiful and though it personally isn’t my favorite method, it can be the most freeing of the two.
As we begin our journeys and make our way further and further along, we will be able to identify quickly who is and isn’t healthy for us. Who should and shouldn’t be a regular part of our lives. Who deserves conscious forgiveness and a chance to remain part of our lives versus who deserves conscious forgiveness and to be loved from a distance. I can’t define this process for you because it is a subjective process on your journey that will be refined over time.
You need to access your spiritual power to do this comfortably. Most of us on our journeys don’t have this strength right away, we still keep people around out of fear or out of not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. It isn’t about hurting someone’s feelings, it’s about honoring your feelings when someone else didn’t. It’s about having enough respect and love for yourself that walking away and loving from a distance gets repeatedly easier.
Conscious forgiveness does not mean becoming passive. Conscious forgiveness means becoming aggressive in your self-love, self-preservation and self-respect.
Allow conscious forgiveness to become a welcomed part of your journey. The only way this happens, which essentially is why the journey takes so much courage to begin and stay on, is when you are tested in this area. The tests will become increasingly difficult until you have mastered your practice of it.
It isn’t enough to understand the concept of conscious forgiveness, you have to be able to practice it and apply it to your experience and interactions with others.
Conscious forgiveness is a type of forgiveness that far surpasses any definition that you have of it while you are unconscious.
Conscious forgiveness does not seek revenge, it seeks restoration. Conscious forgiveness cannot exist in the same realm as the ego because conscious forgiveness derives from conscious love which is more powerful than the ego. Conscious love and forgiveness overpower the ego two-fold. Conscious forgiveness does not exchange self-love and inner strength for passivity and the giving over of our power to someone else. Conscious forgiveness does not rely on a change in circumstances because it recognizes that circumstances are circumstantial, it looks for a conscious change in the person behind the circumstance in which forgiveness was warranted in the first place.
Conscious forgiveness is not asked for, it is given freely and as soon as possible whether a hurtful action has been acknowledged by the other person(s) or not.
To consciously forgive is to give, first and foremost, yourself and, secondly, someone else the beautiful and life-altering gift of conscious love in spite of conditions, circumstances or actions.
Consciousness forgiveness means to embrace the humanity in yourself and others while gaining the wisdom in understanding how our human-experiences can benefit from the immense love that comes from being in alignment with Source.
On your journey, when faced with hurtful experiences, open your eyes and heart and remember to look at the situation from a place of higher awareness and consciousness so that you may see the situation is both transient and a necessary part of your journey.
I thank you for reading the fourth part of this series of “An Introduction to Theory of Consciousness” and I invite you to stay tuned for the fifth and final part of this series where I will discuss “Listening.”
I love you!!!