In Latin forgiveness is called perdonare, which at its roots means to give completely, without reservation, just like a gift.
Historically, when the Latin word was implemented into the Germanic ancestor of English, it became literally transliterated and it lost a little what it originally stood for. “Per” was replaced by “for,” and “donare” which originally means gift, was translated into “to give” which in turn resulted in the old English interpretation to be understood as “to give up”.
Fast forward till today and we find the word forgiveness to bring in and of itself several connotations.
In many religious cultures for example, forgiveness is often associated with the church. In Christianity it was the last act of Jesus, so it becomes often thought of as a Saint-like quality that most people have difficulty to embrace, because we are after all only human.
For most, it’s something connected to its typical stereotypes of victimhood, mistakes, judgement, repentance—we often see forgiveness as a weakness, something that does not equal mental strength. We perceive it as an act to bestow upon another human being when we are ready to bless them with our mercy, usually after many years of bitter resentment and extensive mulling over.
Often we associate forgiveness with condoning something that shouldn’t have happened because we want to forget, some would even argue and say that it goes hand in hand with carelessness, that because we choose to forgive, we lose our power over the other person.
But the ironic thing is that when we hold a grudge against someone who has done us harm (consciously or subconsciously) we are actually only inflicting more pain unto ourselves. Not the other person.
The other person may inflict self-punishment unto themselves, but our lack of forgiveness, is not affecting their wellbeing as it is us.
In fact, forgiveness has little to do with the other person at all, and everything to do with us as individuals.
Clinical studies have shown that the harbouring of hate and resentment can over time affect a person’s health. A study published by the American Heart Association suggests that high levels of anger may increase the risk of coronary heart disease and increase blood pressure. Another conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that subjects were five times more at risk of a heart attack and three times more at risk for a stroke in the two hours following an angry outburst, so even short time expressions of hate can have huge consequences, not to mention the heightened stress levels that could lead to type 2 diabetes and a plethora of mental health issues.
What happens is that over time, the body responds and matches the frequency that was planted in us by ourselves with the subconscious desire to remain locked into a pernicious state. The person who did the initial “wrong-doing” is not having this response.
When we feel that someone has done us wrong, we feel pain, we are hurt. And understandingly so. In the moment we feel like total victims, dis-empowered and at the mercy of someone else’s’ actions.
However, what happens from that moment on and into the future, your future, is entirely up to you.
The choice you will make, usually subconsciously, is whether to allow the other party to continue influencing your existence long after they no longer feature in it.
In that moment, when we consciously choose to heal ourselves from the pain and hurt we experience, we have that powerful choice to free ourselves from the illusionary shackles that our ego wants us to lock ourselves into and be free there and then.
And it’s an empowering choice to make, but we usually opt for the shackles.
And we do that because that’s what we are thought to do. It’s socially accepted, often even encouraged, and it allows us to form an identity around the victimhood that we choose to call home.
We suddenly become xyz who had this or that done to them (which can also serve to free us from some of our personal responsibility) and become this new persona who finally has the right to express anger, or to feel sad or depressed.
But the downside to this is that instead of expressing ourselves as a purging mechanism, we integrate it into who we are, and hold onto those feelings for months, sometimes even years after the initial situation even occurred.
After all those feelings are now representing us, they are a part of who we are. And when we identify with our thoughts and feelings, the mind program goes, and we’re no longer inviting awareness into the conversation.
We have rewired our brains to work against us and it will be automatic to feel what we want to feel on repeat from then on. Every day that we choose not to have awareness of these processes, we keep ourselves locked in the past, living as the relics of someone else’s actions – for by now, we’re no longer free.
Every day we hold a grudge against someone, we allow the other person to continue having power over us.
So not only have we been wrong done once, they are being allowed to double wham us again and again, with no effort whatsoever from their part.
This is also applicable in the context of self-forgiveness by understanding that whatever you did under the influence of pain and hurt, is not a true representation of the real you.
For whatever you produce and manifest out of a state of unhappiness, will always reflect the illusion of your programming and of your ego.
That is not to say that we shouldn’t take responsibility for our actions, but more about understanding that there is always a reason behind every action, even our own, and when we act out of a presupposition that isn’t aligned to love (which is our purest form), we are not being our true selves — we are right back on autopilot and at the mercy of the past.
And, think of this – If every single thought that we have is contributing to our overall health and well-being, by inviting punitive and hate filled notes into our repertoire, we fill our wells with all this awful thick energy that if allowed to grow, over time will morph into a manifestation of its essence.
We literally become it, we turn into a representative of the thoughts that we entertain. Imagine that. Walking around town being the sales rep of resentment, or of hate.
We may not wave around it in the faces of others, but our energy is a match to that, we carry it within us, and it spreads, for we are connected, even though we may not have the awareness of this, but who and what we are from an energetic level, influences everything and everyone we come into contact with.
Children for example, with their incredible little theta and Alpha frequency brains, sense these type of frequencies and will over time try to match that, for in their developmental phase, everything is an aspiration.
But it isn’t just children that we affect with our emotional signature, adults sense this too.
What we attribute to a hunch or a gut feeling, is very often our intuition picking up that which is invisible to the naked eye, signalling us of what is going on behind the close set, albeit we often dismiss.
Animals also often display the very essence of this dynamics at play, sensing the energetic field of humans and matching their behaviour to reflect or accommodate this. Since they are not ruled by an analytical mind, they have no choice but to listen to this very natural instinct that we over time have learned to minimize as much as possible, because in our society it isn’t often perceived as convenient.
Since anger and resentment are very powerful and destructive emotions for our overall wellbeing, choosing not to address these resident sentiments by burying them under a thick layer of denial, is accepting that we are powerless to change.
We invite stagnation into our timeline and forget that even though we may feel separated and somewhat alienated from each other at times, we are in fact always inter-connected. Not once in a while when we’re in the flow or when we feel particularly united.
Imagine if the self-responsibility of becoming the purest form closest to love and abundance, was something we all worked on in our daily lives. Imagine how much more united we would feel if we all knew how our own individual happiness actually affected the next person.
Not only would we see it as a duty to heal ourselves from our past, it would be a privilege.