“All major religions carry basically the same message; that is love, compassion, and forgiveness the important thing that should be a part of their lives.” – Dalai Lama
I was talking to a friend about how forgiveness and compassion are the keys to mending a relationship, letting go of past hurt, and moving on. We were both trying to understand how we could heal from our individual pasts where we were hurt by people we felt very close to – family, close friends, and even past romantic connections. While we both agreed that forgiveness is about setting ourselves free from our past, she asked me a question that made me think – “Are we truly ready to move on when we still find it hard to let go of an individual, and still want the two of us to find a way back to each other in some form?” The question made me take a pause and made me wonder if we are, in fact, ready to let go if we want things to work out with an individual or were we fooling ourselves into thinking that we were healed and were fine with not having these people in our lives anymore. Turns out, I hadn’t really understood what it means to forgive.
Our conversation forced me to look at forgiveness beyond the realm of psychology or human society. It forced me to look at it from the lens of spirituality and the interpretation that I got made more sense to me than anything else ever had regarding this topic and this individual. When I thought about forgiveness, I often related it to be putting aside my pain and hurt, trying to empathize with the other individual, and letting things go. In other situations where I am hurt by the actions/inactions of an individual, I ask myself how my expectations would change from that individual going forward – “Do I want them to be a part of my life?”, “Do I want us to break contacts completely?”, “Do I want them to apologize and prove to me that they won’t make the same mistake again?”, or “Do I not care about this relationship anymore?”. These questions have helped me in the past to deal with certain relationships. At times, I have chosen to close the doors. At times, I have chosen to move forward and told myself the famous saying – “Let bygones be bygones”. At other times, I have given myself time to process the hurt and let time decide how the relationship progressed. But, when it comes to some individuals, none of that works.
So, what do you do when you are hurt but want to forgive someone from all your heart because you can’t imagine them hurting? What do you do when you can’t be angry with someone but know that it would be so much easier to move on if you were angry? What do you do when logic, psychology, and science fly out of the window? What do you do when your brain and heart are in a continuous struggle? What do you do when you don’t even know if they care? I asked myself if I can’t do something, then, is there something that they can do to mend it? Can they do anything or say anything that will help me let it go? The screaming answer from all of my being was – “No”. They can’t because, at the end of the day, it was never about them. It was always about me.
From the lens of Spirituality, we’re all souls having a human experience. Our conscious mind determines how we interpret a situation, what actions we take, what we think, and how to react. Our subconscious mind is a different game. It is here where we have all of our emotional patterns stored. It is here where we process emotions. It is this part that determines what triggers us, how we see ourselves, and how we see others. These two parts magically come together to define our entire personality – the one the world sees and the one we hide. But, there is another part, the part that can’t be measured and does not have a scientific term. The part of us that’s defining the experiences that we choose to have in this lifetime. The part that goes beyond any logic and cannot be detected by any known technology – our soul.
We all come to this world to follow our purpose that’s hidden somewhere beneath the layers of our conscious and subconscious minds. We come to this world to work on the baggage that we’ve carried for so many lives. We come to this world to learn lessons that our souls have decided for us to learn. We come to this world to free ourselves from this world.
If our soul decided all our encounters, if our soul is the one deciding what experiences we have and our human selves are the ones who have to learn from these experiences, then, that would mean that every single interaction in our lifetime is an opportunity for us to heal ourselves. It’s an opportunity for us to get more in alignment with our authentic selves and it’s an opportunity for us to release all that is not us.
So, if that’s the case, how can I be angry with someone for doing what my soul needed them to do? How can I keep hurting myself by reminding myself of what happened and how I wished things were different? How can I blame the other for doing what they needed to do to help me heal? How can I blame them for not recognizing that at the of the day, I too did what their soul wanted me to do? How can I continue to feel hurt or guilt for what is essentially the actions of two souls in a human body, both trying to free themselves and each other from the illusion of this reality? How can I blame someone for hurting me when they can’t see what their souls are asking them to see when I, myself, can’t let it go despite hearing and seeing what my soul is telling me?
No, it does not make any logical sense. It does not even make any psychological sense but it makes perfect spiritual sense. I can’t be angry with someone because my heart does not allow me to be angry with them. I can’t continue to remind myself of the past, of their actions, and feel hurt because that’s what they had to do to bring me where I am today and push me to where I am meant to be. I can’t continue to hold onto this guilt of hurting them because, unfortunately, I too couldn’t listen to what my soul was trying to tell me. I can’t continue to hold onto that guilt because I was also had to act a certain way to hopefully push them to where they needed to be. I can’t hold onto a specific scenario or timeline, and I can’t even hold on to certain expectations because it’s as out of my control as it is theirs.
I can only choose how I respond in the now. I can choose to let bygones be bygones, I can choose to hold onto that hurt, I can choose to claim that I know how to forgive them or myself, I can choose to be angry, I can choose to hold a facade to show I have moved on and I can choose to not care. The truth, however, is I can’t choose to be fake. I can’t. I don’t understand how any of this works but maybe I don’t have to. I still hope and still believe. I still have faith and that’s all I have. I don’t know how to navigate this but maybe I am not supposed to. Maybe this is the lesson that I had to learn all along. Maybe sometimes it’s not about forgiveness. Maybe sometimes it’s choosing to align with what’s not of this world and letting it be.
Doesn’t that, somehow, make forgiveness easy? When you can see a person’s action as an act of their human form but know that there is something that’s “asking” them to take that action will you still blame them? When you can tell yourself that a person’s actions are not about the physical you or the physical them but is a way to help heal both of you in ways that you can’t comprehend (yet)? Isn’t it easy to forgive when you can choose to respond or react when something hurts you because you know that whatever a person says or does is helping both or one of you align with your higher self? Isn’t it poetic to see that we’re all working towards the common goal of healing ourselves and each other without realizing how? Isn’t it beautiful to experience the human experience of our souls without judging people or experiences and just knowing that there is a lesson at every step? Doesn’t acknowledging that people’s actions do not always indicate who they are but are a result of a misalignment between who they are and what they think of themselves to be, make it easy to surrender and let things be?
Throughout my journey, I have asked a question – Why was I meant to experience it when the others don’t? Why was I punished and left alone? Today, I got the answer. It was not a punishment but a blessing. A blessing that helps me see through a situation and determine for myself if something is about me because if it is about me, then, I can heal myself – a win for me and a win for us. If it’s not about me, I can let it be and pray that it heals whatever needs to be healed in the other person – a win for them and us. Isn’t that a marvelous gift? I can free myself of karma that’s not mine and I can free myself of karma that I have been carrying around for decades and centuries? Isn’t it beautiful to know that I can always see the “good” in others because I can always choose to see who they are vs what they portray to be? Isn’t it beautiful to not have anger and hatred and have a love for everyone and everything around me?
My friend is right. Sometimes, we are not ready to move on because there is nothing to move on from. There was never anything to forgive. Forgiveness came as soon as the hurt came. It was just our conscious selves trying to provide us some justice that our soul never needed. Some connections are just that, spiritual. All we can do is see ourselves in these individuals, see their souls, and believe that we will always help each other because forgiveness, compassion, and love are always the key. I guess that means that we just continue to wait and see.