Tag Archives: judgment

Why Forgiveness is No Longer for Me

I Forgave Myself

I forgave myself…

  • for not being as good a friend as I could have been, especially during times of their grief.
  • for getting into debt. Well almost. My plan was to fully forgive after I had finished paying off all of my debts.
  • for being socially awkward many times in my life, including a few recently that embarrassed me.
  • for taking too long writing and editing my memoir.
  • for not recognizing that I was in an abusive relationship, for putting him first to the detriment of myself, for staying way too long…

 

In fact, this major awakening around the concept of forgiveness I’m about to share started a few years ago, as I learned how the subconscious mind works, but really developed because there was a part in one of my book drafts where I made those exact self-forgiveness statements regarding my abusive marriage.

As I read that section again later, it occurred to me that other women who have been (or still were) in an abusive relationship might internalize those statements, and I absolutely did not want them to think that they needed forgiveness!

And if they didn’t need forgiveness, why did I

It became crystal clear in the context of having been a victim to a perpetrator abusing me, that I needed no forgiveness. What an absurd notion—to need forgiveness for the acts of another person?!

But what about the aspects that were my choice, such as staying with him when I knew I could have safely left. Those facets were at least partially attributed to his lies and manipulation, which convoluted my choice. However, regardless of whether my choice was absolutely clear in the big picture or twisted by circumstances, the answer is still obvious that still no forgiveness is needed.

Subconscious Programming and Awareness Levels Matter

I did exactly what I was programmed to do—sacrifice myself to be loved. In this case, that deep-seeded belief system showed up as my sacrificing myself for God’s bigger picture, for my husband to have a greater chance at healing and redemption.

Why would I need forgiveness for executing a hard-wired program that, in addition to being the filter through which we all process all of our life experiences, was (in theory and intent) completely in line with my religious upbringing?

No, I didn’t need forgiveness for my acting through my subconscious program (based on the fact that that is simply how humans function)! Nor did I need forgiveness for my then-level of awareness.

I didn’t need forgiveness any more than a child needs forgiveness for falling during her attempts to learn to walk.

Thus I have two solid reasons for not needing to forgive myself—I didn’t make his choices, he did, and my programming and awareness simply were what they were.

But what if I still felt like a stupid idiot? If so, I lean toward attempting to forgive myself anyway as a solution. I’m not going to go that direction, though, because the only reason to feel stupid is if I feel shame for what happened to me, shame for what he did, shame over my choices, or shame over any other aspect.

Judgment Creates Shame, Which Creates the Desire to Be Forgiven

 

Shame is merely me judging myself as being wrong.

While I would make different choices today, that is only because my awareness has expanded and I have grown as a person. It’s not because “I was wrong back then and I am right now.”

Without judgment of being wrong, there is no need for forgiveness.

Judgment leads to shame, which leads to suffering, which understandably can lead to the desire to forgive oneself (or others) in order to ease that suffering.

Most of us were taught through subtle (or not so subtle) messages that judgment is the overriding law of existence—live to be judged for it, so you better be good.

I submit that the truth is something better…

I submit that we exist to LIVE!

There are natural consequences to our beliefs, thoughts, and actions. There is no judgment attached those in nature or in the Universe.

If you are a jungle cat, you either hunt to eat or you don’t eat. You don’t worry about how stupid you were that your hunt yesterday failed. You just keep going until you succeed at filling your belly.

I propose we recognize the lack of judgment in nature and remove it from ourselves. I propose we stop forgiving ourselves altogether.

Removing judgment removes shame, which removes the need for forgiveness.

I’d far rather assess whether or not my life matches my divine desires, and assess if I am currently (or will be by achieving my desires and goals) harming myself or others. From those assessments, I can make result-based decisions—what serves me and others well and what doesn’t?

There is still evaluation and improvement, if one so desires, but it is all without judgment.

So much more can be done to improve ourselves when we are not caught up in judgment and shame!

Yes, forgiveness traditionally has helped with that shame, but how infinitely more effective is our joy if we remove the root cause of it in the first place?!

I propose that we love ourselves unconditionally. I propose that we see ourselves and others without judgment.

This open approach is even more complete and effective than forgiveness, because it eliminates the need for forgiveness and it is based in pure love.

I propose that we simply love.

Why We Can’t Leave it Alone

“You Leave But You Can’t Leave it Alone”

That is the criticism every non-silent former Mormon (or other religious tribe where this is a common issue) hears from still-member friends and all the way up the the leaders of the Church.

This is why people can “leave the Church, but not leave it alone” and “tear apart their family” in the process.

(No doctrine, history, or “anti” info here. Just an analogy to answer the question.)

I know its hard for those who believe to be left by those they love and to feel attacked. I was one of them. I know exactly how that feels, both in times when truly hurts and times when you easily “let go and let God.” I know how it feels to trust God and love them anyway.

…Love, but not truly hear…

The Family’s Favorite Uncle

It’s always the person willing to expose the family’s favorite uncle for abuse he’s committed, who gets blamed for tearing the family apart, rather than the uncle who actually committed those crimes.

Why?

In many cases it’s because the other family members can’t fathom the accusations are true. Even if there is proof—they already KNOW he’s wonderful, no matter what evidence there is to the contrary (including evidence actually admitted by HIM).

Or because they value not rocking the boat more than they value the truth, in spite of the accounts of those who have been hurt by him. Rocking the boat directly affects them because it is negative and feels horrible.

Or because of the great good he also does in the world.

Or maybe they feel he “got better,” thus don’t feel its important everyone knows about it, even in order to be informed and aware for the safety of their children, just in case.

Or they have seen some of the evidence but feel his rebuttal debunked it to their satisfaction.

Or they heard some of the accounts of abuse and felt forced to believe the victim was lying, or that it didn’t matter as much as the greater unity of the family, or that the victim somehow caused the incident, or other discounting views of the victim’s experience.

Or any number of other reasons.

Tragically, the one who was willing to step out of the family’s/tribe’s status quo to raise awareness about the harm, is the one who gets the heat.

Now, you may feel this analogy does not apply—you may feel it is false accusation, and for this discussion that is okay! We are not getting into the proof or debate on that.

All I ask is that you try to understand that many others you love feel it does apply, and thus it warrants compassion at the very least (how would you feel being the one having knowledge of the favorite uncle’s abusive behavior?), or even better, open listening and honest understanding.

Does this Change Anything?

Considering this analogy, do you feel there is a way to now mend the bridge over the pain between the two perspectives?

Why or why not?

Under what terms?