I’ve heard it said that forgiveness is the ultimate act of self-compassion. That it is, in essence, a gift the forgiving one grants themselves in order to release the negativity they hold for their transgressors.
Forgiveness has not been a strong suit of mine. I can say it out loud “Transgressors, I forgive you!”, but… I don’t need a holy-man to tell me that the unshifted resentment towards the other, despite my proclamation to the contrary, is my ultimate proof of failure.
A seductive proclamation too, because I can fool the outer world with such a statement. It’s even possible to fool myself with enough disconnection from my emotional response to my truly ‘head-felt’ delivery.
But what if releasing that negativity is actually really important to me? How can I achieve a heart-felt forgiveness when my head is clearly unwilling to release such a tasty coulda-shoulda-woulda chew-bone?
I struck on something last Sunday night as I watched my mind race around yet another choice to cut a now ex-friend out of my life. It’s called an ‘honouring’. I’ve not seen honouring called into service as a forgiveness tool, but it bet it’s simply because I’ve never thought to look for it.
Now, this doesn’t discount my decision to extract myself from this ex-friend’s drama. The ‘turn the other cheek’ bullshit I received as religious programming just serves to propagate the victim/victimiser/rescuer drama triad, which turns out to be particularly relevant to my decision.
No, forgiveness is the act of moving on without the baggage. And honouring is a tool that worked for me. The process is simple enough. Just list the things you genuinely admire in the other. In a typical homouring, this would be directly to the other’s face, but I’ve discovered journaling is sufficient (and preferable) in this context.
So, beloved ex-friend, in drawing this drama to a personal close, here are the things I honour about you:
● I envy your zest for life, and how you throw yourself into activities, giving it your all.
● I love your wicked sense of humour, and how you have so fully integrated your inner trickster into your public persona.
● you’ve a huge intellect, which I find very attractive.
● You enjoy a good laugh. Your humour is infectious and I will miss it.
● you are steadfast and loyal to those you deem friends.
Now I’ve had a chance to sleep on it, I agree with you. I have changed. The drama you offered to make me an integral part of recently is no longer a drug I wish to imbue.
Travel well ex-friend.
For the general public: I initially wasn’t going to share this, given that I’m now back on an even emotional keel. However, if this ends up helping anyone else get over their cortisol overload any faster, it’s worth pushing past my reluctance, and getting it out there. Like me, you may just find the forgiveness you’re seeking through an honouring.