There is no doubt if you spend enough time on this earth that people will eventually do things to you that will not support your well-being, aliveness or even satisfaction in living. These things could be just a single event or a series of incidents over a period of time. The result and experience is the same. You are left with the feeling that something is “being done” to you; you are a victim.
Forgiving someone is solid evidence to the world that you intend to live your life in the now.
There is a BIG difference between forgiving people and holding people accountable for their actions. Forgiving someone is not you excusing the actions that they have done. People need to be held accountable, criminally or otherwise. If you don’t hold them accountable, chances are that you will continue in the state of being the victim and continue to blame for your condition.
To hold someone accountable is to notice what is happening. An awareness of wrong doing. You then communicate to them, what you know and how this action is affecting your relationship. You are assisting them in their awareness of how they are to you and the world. If they are remotely conscious, they may become aware, which is the first step in change. They also may remain unconscious and there is not much you can do about that, other than hold them accountable. Remember that holding people accountable is also telling them there are consequences to their actions.
Here is a twist. The communication is outside the right and wrong belief system. As soon as you make someone “wrong”, they will mobilize a defense and take the other position but justifying the actions to make themselves “right”. There is no win-win.
You can argue as strongly as you want for your opinion as long as you are equally vigorous in encouraging other to disagree.Ron McMillan, The Law of Crucial Conversations
Forgiving is not attaching conditions either. If you come to a place where you find yourself that you have to forgive again, then you really never forgave in the first place. Forgiving is unconditional.
Tip – the more you hold people accountable for their actions, the less you will find yourself in a position to forgive.
Remember why you are forgiving. It’s not for them, its for you. Forgiving is for you, so that you don’t have to carry anymore baggage then necessary. The biggest bag some people carry who do not forgive is the bag of grudges. No matter what, they are attached to that bag and will carry it right to their grave. Which by the way is a choice for you too. Either way, there are consequences.
There is a lot of bagged up energy in holding grudges. Forgiving frees up that energy so that it could be used for more important things, like getting on with your life.
“Am I willing to waste my life and energy on this matter?” Forgive and move on.
A few of the positive consequences of forgiving are, better relationships, increase feelings of love, a higher capacity for trust and improved health.
As a child, I was disciplined to forgive. I was told that it was the right thing to do. It was the Christian thing to do. I was not taught how to hold people accountable for their actions, or knew that this was a part of forgiving. I forgave and resented it. I also played the victim very well.
Through mentoring and workshops I learned later that forgiveness was not excusing someone for their actions. That there were consequences in every action. I also was able to observe and understand better on what might be causing those flawed actions and that there were lessons to learn for me.
I am far from perfect. Since 1982, I have added unconditional forgiveness to my attributes; in my practice of living. Giving up the blame game places you in a higher plane where you are in control and most importantly, frees you from that victim state.
“Hurt people hurt people” is more than a clever phrase. Hurt people hurt others because they themselves have been hurt. And each one of us has been hurt to one degree or another. As that damage causes us to become defensive and self-protective, we may lash out at others. Hurting becomes a vicious cycle. “
Dr. Sandra D. Wilson
Hurt People Hurt People: Hope and Healing for Yourself and Your Relationships
My biggest breakthrough came when I discovered that I wasn’t forgiving myself properly. I became great at understanding others and forgiving them. It took a deeper understanding of the conditions that I was placing on myself (therefore not forgiving).
When you learn that you can re-script your life, miracles can happen. Circumstances that you have been tolerating, suddenly just become part of the process. Moving from victim to manifesting a life to moving on to bigger and better. With each wakening day, I would strive to be just a little better than I was yesterday.
After all, isn’t this what life is? Learning, growing, and moving on.
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RICK RUPPENTHAL is a professional Personal and Leadership Transformational Coach and a Certified Change Practitioner. As a retired paramedic of 30 years, Rick has held positions in leadership, education, as a coach and a mentor. Through those experiences, understanding, and adaptability, Rick has dedicated his life to a continual journey of self-discovery, adventure, and guiding others on their own journey of being their best self.
2 thoughts on “Taking my biggest step – Forgiveness”
I hope you’ll write an article about what it means to hold people accountable, because it’s not a match withmy experience of forgiving. When I forgive someone, it is my intention to let go of the incident, completely, so I have zero emotional attachment to the event. Zero.
You are absolutely right Elaine on forgiveness. Once you have forgiven, that’s it, you let go of the attachment to that incident. You are don’t get to add any more baggage. Accountability is separate from forgiving. Yes, you can forgive and not hold people accountable and that person can continue to do what they want to do. Say you come home from a trip and your teenager had a party while you were away. Your instructions were not to, however, a party occurred. Your goal is to communicate with them so that they take notice, understand the consequences of those actions and have a feeling of responsibility for those actions. Accountability is outside your right/wrong belief system. There has to be an emotional connection leading to an understanding of being responsible for the consequences. You forgive them for you. You hold them accountable for them. Will it always work out? Maybe not, and they may never take responsibility..