STEP NINE CONTINUED
Forgive ourselves for all harm we may have caused, even if it was well-intended.
Instruction: Recognize forgiveness is unconditional.
Love is not love unless it is unconditional. The same is true of forgiveness. Conditional forgiveness is not forgiveness. To say, “I will forgive you but you’d better not . . .” means that you are withholding a measure of forgiveness based upon a person’s future performance. That is like saying “I will love you as long as you don’t . . . .” Forgiveness and love exist beyond the boundaries of behavior. If someone refuses to forgive us, we don’t have to allow their unwillingness to leave us in a state of depression, anxiety, confusion, or bewilderment. If we’ve tried to make amends or asked to be forgiven from someone who isn’t ready or feels they can’t, then we can ask for forgiveness from our Higher Power who will grant it immediately, and we can also forgive ourselves.
How do we react when someone withholds their forgiveness? The first question I think I would ask myself would be: “Am I withholding forgiveness from someone in my own life?” At times, the Universe reminds us that what is good for one person is good for another. If I refuse to forgive, I might be reminded of that fact when I come across someone who is unable or unwilling to forgive me. The next thing to do would be to try our best to forgive everyone unconditionally. Once we have managed that, we might find that those who weren’t able to forgive us in the past are suddenly softening and coming to a place of forgiveness. I want to reiterate that unconditional forgiveness does not condone the offenses or the offender’s behavior. We are allowed to set boundaries, but for our own spiritual, physical, and mental health, we forgive, let go of our pain, and release the past into the care of The Divine. This forgiveness also means that even if we can’t secure forgiveness from those we harmed, we can still forgive ourselves.
Today’s Assignment is to keep in mind that forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone bad behavior or that you shouldn’t seek ways of preventing it from happening. While keeping this in mind, find a way to forgive yourself and others that doesn’t entail conditions. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that a boundary is a condition — you can forgive completely from a safe distance.
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