Forgiving the Unforgivable
During my studies at the University for Peace in Costa Rica, I came face-to-face with the realization that I was still carrying the burden of my childhood abuse. I hadn’t yet forgiven the unforgivable acts that I suffered at my father’s hands.
Having it All
On the surface, I had a great career, money in the bank, a great relationship with Dana, and yet, my early experiences were the drive behind my behaviors––the ones that had brought me to the brink of death during my illness after collapsing in the corporate office elevator. My need for success, my need for approval, and my need to accumulate money as a way to feel safe created a work ethic that was unsustainable.
I soon learned that forgiveness was in order, and I discovered this only through hearing the stories from my friend, Alphonse about being intimately affected by the Rwanda genocide. The violence committed against his fellow country people, his friends, and family members were horrific, and my own experiences with my father’s drunken rages paled in comparison.
Dr. Anita Sanchez, who wrote the foreword to my book, Jungle: A Journey to Peace, Purpose, and Freedom, is the author of The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times. She writes:
“The power to forgive the unforgivable does not mean pardoning…an act that is horrific against human beings, other species, or nature. It does not mean no longer requiring an apology, an assurance that mistreatment will not happen again, and even some kind of reparation for the mistreatment…Forgiveness is a powerful medicine, a process and journey to freedom and wholeness…If you choose not to forgive, you are choosing what may seem easy but is actually harder, for you will stay imprisoned by the past event and your suffering, choosing to carry the weight of toxic hatred and pain.”
Alphonse and others who were victims of genocide chose to embrace peace rather than hate and animosity. I wanted to be more like them, instead of hanging onto the judgments and rationalizations that kept me separate from others in an effort to protect myself.
Forgiving doesn’t mean we condone the bad behaviors of others. Forgiving means we grant ourselves the freedom to move on. I had to first forgive myself for wearing my resentments like a badge of honor. It was only then that I was able to forgive others and ultimately find peace, purpose, and freedom.
What Would It Take?
I hope this inspires you to look within your own life and ask:
- What will it take for you to forgive yourself and perhaps those who have wronged you?
- What price are you paying for carrying around old wounds and resentments?
- What will it take for you to reach for freedom and peace?
Let me know what you discover.
P.S. I frequently post on my Facebook page inspirations, realizations, and insights I have during my day-to-day adventures. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/cindyhensonjungle/
I invite you to Like my page to ensure that you are notified of my updates.
#cindyhenson #cindyhensonjungle #7PrinciplestoPeacePurposeFreedom #bringyourhearttowork #KathySparrow #hensonconsultinggroup #forgiveness #AnitaSanchez #TheFourSacredGifts #compassion