By Brandon Jamil
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In today’s times, we’re told to be the better person. We’re advised that when someone commits a crime rather it be emotional or psychical– we should forgive them. The idea of forgiveness is reinforced by many spiritualist and spiritual faiths. We’re then told that forgiveness somehow frees our soul from it’s burdens, and the other person will at some point confront the crimes they’ve committed. On the surface, forgiveness can look appealing because we’re releasing the emotional burdens that connect within our cells tissues.
However, underneath we sometimes resist the our will to forgive another person. Let’s be honest, sometimes we just don’t have the desire to actually forgive someone for the hurt they’ve inflicted in our lives. Our broken hearts and fragile ego just doesn’t have the energy to heal ourselves and guess what? Contrary to popular belief, I say don’t forgive. Yes you read the last sentence correct. Don’t forgive, at-least not right now and here’s why.
Most of us, if not all of us have experienced traumas within our lives, and we put on our big persons under wear and allow time to heal us. Truthfully, we spent time dwelling on the situation. Replaying the same script in our head we begin to live out our traumas and we completely justify it. In the beginning stages it’s vital that we acknowledge our pain and get honest about our wounds, it’s equally important that we don’t mask our pain in false forgiveness as a band aid.
Instead it’s important that we truly face the resentment, pain, and fear associated to said wound. Needless to say, we need to truly process our trauma authentically. Our traumas deserve more than false forgiveness, and our lives deserve our complete attention, time, and emotional care.
Author of Love it Forward, psychotherapist Jeff Brown, states that forgives should not be a destination at the beginning of our healing. He states that our willingness to truly grieve and accept said trauma should be. Meaning, that once we feel violated in any way we must first accept the hostile, hurt, broken, and rage that currently exists within our body. If we need to cry it out, scream it out, write it out, talk it out, dance it out or anything that’s connected to our body and emotions–we need to give ourselves permission. The only destination we should look forward to arriving is taking ownership of our feelings without guilt or apology.
In another article, I’ve mentioned that Brown suggests that masking our feelings with false beliefs and affirmations will only stunt our growth in the long term. Why? When we choose to not deal with our emotions and sub conscious mind, these events take hold in our present life, so they manifest as psychical forms that continue to happen until we choose to deal with it. The need and desire for our psyche to heal isn’t a made up theory. We all must confront our psyche and it will always have the last word. In the end, we come to find that masking our feelings took away our willingness to explore our power vs stunting our growth.
Once we’ve dealt with what Brown calls emotional and mental material, we then can choose to forgive from a healed space. Not of one that holds deep resentment and anger. I know first hand how it feels when betrayal has crossed my path and i’ve had to honor my feelings of anger, resentment, hurt, and flat out hostility. I had a pathology that I couldn’t be the angry black man, so I needed to always look composed to everyone at all times. Which is insane because my white counter parts never gave me a medal, cookie or a snickers bar for that matter. I realized that I am in-fact allowed to express myself and honor myself, as long as I wasn’t hurting another person.
To be honest, the only people that would become uncomfortable when I honored my truth were people who had the desire to control my feelings and emotions. I can recall swallowing my anger, hostility and I would feel as if I’d betrayed myself. Now I deal with my own emotional and mental material through journaling and it’s truly liberating, because I allow my mind to become clear and free of the pain.
Forgiveness in it’s very nature isn’t something I want to shun. In-fact I embrace it. However, I believe that we need to arrive to forgiveness once we’ve worked though our materials, so that we can show up in our life understanding the power we feel once we’ve called back our power in truth. Once we’ve called our power we then can forgive the people that have caused us profound trauma.
As we’ve separated the associated feelings of guilt as to why said trauma took place, we then understand that their actions have nothing to do with us, but their actions have everything to do with their own psyche, emotions.