Learning to Forgive

Forgiveness as a topic has come up twice for me today. The first: an incident that requires forgiveness of myself and another; the second: another has asked for forgiveness from me. I had planned on binging Grey’s Anatomy and drinking tea but universe had other plans. I’m not begrudging of having to face the problem within myself, it’s high time in fact that I reflect. Once again, it needed some help from someone outside of me, because, as I keeping finding, the best of help comes from the most unexpected places.

“Apathy on the specific negative emotions, yes. Forgetfulness is harder, but acceptance would be better. It happened, it’s done, over with… so you can accept that it won’t develop, and fold it into a nice little oragami bird that you can then incinerate at high temperatures.” – X

Acceptance of another’s actions and moving on from them is forgiveness. We can accept things as they are, because they are just that. What if, again being the dangerous subject. What if things get worse? What if I can’t move on? What if I can’t forgive them? What if I can’t forgive myself for trusting them in the first place? Fuck what if. It’s a spiralling rabbit hole of shit that we should not even peer down or risk slipping on it’s slick edges and into the abyss. Forgiveness is the only way to keep your feet on the ground. Without forgiveness you spiral endlessly down the rabbit hole of panic and destruction with hatred of the self being the rock bottom. Why? Well where is there else to go? Forgiving another only reflects on the self in the end, for what do they care now? Why do you care? Why should you care?

“In the whole of things there is one harmony: and just as all material bodies combine to make the world one body, a harmonious whole, so all causes combine to make Destiny one harmonious cause. Even quite unsophisticated intuit what I mean. They say ‘Fate brought this on him.’ Now if ‘brought’, also ‘prescribed’. So let us accept these prescriptions just as we those of Asclepius – many of them too are harsh, but we welcome them in the hope of health.” – Meditations 5.8.2

Asclepius is the god of medicine and is it not the most appropriate that forgiveness is the greatest medication for our souls? Forgiveness of others but more importantly forgiveness of the self is a harder task. Yet, if you’ve been wronged by another, what is the need for self-forgiveness? There’s always that rumbling isn’t there? That what if you hadn’t crossed paths with the cause of your ills. That what if you hadn’t placed trust in that cause, given effort, energy and emotion. That’s the root isn’t it? We are our own worst critics first, after all.

And what of this situation where another has asked for my forgiveness? For a situation where I’ve also found myself – although in my case I was innocent of what I was accused of unlike this person. I do forgive, yet do I want this person back in my life? No. Is this true forgiveness you ask? I think so. I forgive and I accept the actions of the actor yet it still doesn’t mean I want to break bread with them.

“When someone does you wrong, you should consider immediately what judgement of good or evil led him to wrong you. When you see this, you will pity him, and not feel surprise or anger.” – Meditations 7.26

You will see those you forgive but you must also apply the lesson you learnt from thier transgressions. You can forgive but you don’t have to trust. If a person takes a dump in your bath you can forgive them and pity them after all, it’s not exactly the sign of a sound mind to shit in another’s bath. Yet, it would be unwise to invite them over again and direct them to your bathroom.

I forgave the person I needed to forgive – as a stoic, rather shamelessly with needing words from a friend. I forgave the person who asked for forgiveness; they’ll have my good will and best wishes but not the house keys or an invite back. Most importantly, I forgave myself. Like most of my blog posts, I’m finishing with an imperative: ask yourself who and what you need to forgive and if the first stop is at home. Acceptance starts in the mirror.



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