What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

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The day I learned how to forgive someone truly. I learned how to live again.

Frieda Lopez

Forgiveness. One of the many acts in morality is one of the most gracious and greatest gifts one can provide. Just like the many morale slogans made to remind us how to complete these acts. Like “Don’t Do Until Others,” which in the opposite idealism becomes “An Eye for an Eye.” But with this morale slogan follows one that is all too familiar, which is “In revenge. You dig two graves.” But what does this indeed really mean, one would ask. Well, when you devote your time to gaining revenge. The one thing that happens in this is that you focus your entire energy and life in many cases. That if and when you complete this temporary purpose. Many in that purpose fail to find another meaning as the unconscious and subconscious mind has fulfilled what it would have computed it as. You’re entire life purpose.

Early childhood condition is what we determine to be our definition of forgiveness in many cases. We tend to follow the footsteps that passed. In the big scheme of things, it turns out to be a family heritage of what that means to our family and, in many cases, would have been an appropriate solution for that decade and time frame. Which in conditioning, we neglect to see how these acts can be outdated and obsolete. With the ever-changing advancements in modern technology. Which includes social media, mobile apps, and many ways to not only communicate in technology. But to find passive-aggressive ways to gain such revenge. Many things such as gaslighting and bandwagoning have also been much more comfortable to complete with the technology to do a face swap. It becomes more comfortable and easier to engage in not only the act of revenge. But the act of blackmail. Which, in many cases, it sometimes may be easier for us to let things go. Which is a common misconception when it comes to forgiveness. The slippery slope when it comes to just letting things go. We tend to have the idealogy to start with a clean slate every time an act, committed against us. Making us feel helpless when those individuals tend to act upon the same crime against us—having us lose trust in people in general. But what if I told you we were going about forgiveness all wrong. Like you, I have had my fair share of moments that I almost said, “Fuck the world and the shitty people in it.”

There is a lot to learn when we choose to forgive genuinely. It not only gives us the tools to become a better person. It’s an opportunity to learn how to love ourselves once again.

Frieda Lopez

One of the things that I learned is that the actual act of forgiveness is a hard pill to swallow. For me, it’s a solemn, irrational, and courageous act that I have ever committed. Forgiveness is nothing to do with the other person. It is an act that has everything to do with us. It takes a lot of work to forgive someone as well as will power truly. Ironically enough doing my research on expressing what this looks like, I stumbled into an article that breaks it down in a less wordy way than I tend to describe it. Cliff Hsia’s article 7 Steps to True Forgiveness | HuffPost Life breaks the fundamentals of what the actual act of forgiveness looks like. Which ideally starts within ourselves. Identifying the triggering pain caused in front of betrayal, learning to not only forgive yourself but understand that the betrayal has nothing to do with you, along with the acts that follow. Here are the seven steps to forgiveness:

1. Identify your hurt

2. Acknowledge your hurtful emotions

3. Forgive yourself and let go

4. Breathe in compassion

5. Forgive unconditionally

6. Be grateful

7. Love again

A real act of forgiveness does not just about forgive the other person. But also the act of forgiving yourself for the mistakes you made in a given relationship. Which ultimately becomes allowing yourself to be involved in that toxic relationship.

Frieda Lopez

Forgiving someone entails the will to want to forgive someone. When you have the will to forgive someone, one thing that we tend to omit is maintenance that is required to assure that both parties are on the same playing field. Here are a few tips on what to do when you allow those people back into your life.

  • Talking About the Incident – In many situations. The situation, in many cases, is not something wholly intended. Many times it’s a miscommunication or something that was an error on either or end. There may have been something that may have triggered a feeling. On the other person’s behalf. Or something you unintentionally didn’t mean to do. This is why having an open and non-defensive conversation—being honest about the actions and their effects on you. It will give you some insight into the things they may have done and vice versa. If a non-defensive conversation can’t occur and if cannot take accountability on either side. It is wise to keep your distance until things cool off. Suppose this has been a common occurrence throughout the relationship. Maybe it’s time for both parties to part ways.

  • Boundaries Must Be Set – Setting boundaries is crucial if you allow bringing someone back into your life. This will assure that the actions that occurred were intolerable and that they were stepping over the line. As triggers on both sides may have happened-may also set boundaries on your behalf. Which is merely okay. If this is the case, keep an eye on specific triggers and behavioral patterns if you have a suspicion. It will come in handy for the next few steps.

  1. There may be times when certain parties may perceive us as gullible. Narcissism has been a mental health condition brought to light, along with the manipulation that comes with it. Being able to say no is a crucial determinant in finding out whether you are dealing with a narcissistic personality. The more you learn how to say no, the more you can truly determine whether you have faced a true narcissist or just a manipulative character.
  • Keep a Secret Journal on Interactions that Seem Unfair or Off – Believe it or not. Documenting is something that will help you see things that you may have missed in these interactions. One of the things that helped me deal with an unhealthy workplace while working in Houston was documenting every single event that seemed unfair and uncalled for. When you learn how to forgive yourself, the third step that HuffPost discusses in their Seven Steps to True Forgiveness, you are more inclined to omit the situations you may have overreacted on. Which can identify your hurt plays a crucial part in this. You’re able to pinpoint what may have been an act out of hurt emotion versus those acts that a third party intended—having you begin to review and see what indeed is occurring in the situation at hand.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Your Loses – Do you ever wonder why it’s hard to let go of some people? Because we become afraid to cut our losses due to the idealism of “what if?” This is why establishing boundaries and effectively maintaining them can determine whether the relationship you are engaging in may not be healthy. When faced with a narcissistic personality, the main objective is to find a way to bring you back in—playing into your fears by evoking the “what if’s” and engaging your worries. Being able to cut your losses in a toxic relationship (friendships, family, romantic, etc.) is an action that shows not only the desire to gain control of your life. But also guides you to gain confidence that attracted toxic people into your life.

  • Stand Up For Yourself, Compassionately – When you finally are afraid to cut your losses, there will be many times that you will face someone who has a toxic personality. Without a doubt, attempt to fill your head with self-doubts and insecurities, thus trying to blame the entire falling out on you. Keeping this journal of the interactions will be your best defense in helping your stand up for yourself by pointing out the toxic behaviors that have been committed against you. Being able to admit to your mistakes shows that you are looking for personal growth. Forgiving yourself and identifying your hurt will naturally instill compassion. If you have been in this situation, the natural thing is to argue back and forward about what each person did wrong. Where is understanding when the conversation is not going anywhere? You have the power to walk away. Suppose you choose to point out the mistakes done by the third party. Remember that we are not perfect. We all make mistakes. When you are blamed for things in the relationship. What’s been sufficient for me has been to say, “I’m not perfect. I know I made mistakes. But I will not grow as a person unless I leave this situation.”

  • Allow Yourself To Grieve And Learn – Leaving a bad situation, regardless of how bad it is, is a painful thing to do. You gained an attachment to the person. In a romantic relationship, you put your hopes of the future in them. In a working relationship, you invested time into that loss. It’s perfectly normal to feel grief. But at the same time, learn from the interaction.

To truly forgive someone takes an act of pure bravery and courage. It involves not holding the other person accountable but also holding yourself accountable.

Frieda Lopez

Ironically enough, you circle back to the Seven Steps of True Forgiveness. Identifying the hurt, acknowledging your hurtful emotions. Learning how to forgive yourself again and let go. As this takes time and practice in many people. The more you get a hold of this, the easier it becomes to breathe in compassion and understand what motivated the third party to engage in their actions. It’s not right. But that is where compassion comes in, which leads to forgiving unconditionally but at the same time being able to establish boundaries. Which slowly but surely becomes a habit you begin to do automatically when the situation occurs once again. Which being grateful comes from taking the lessons you learned and applying them to the next occurrence of toxic interaction, which has you, in the end, learning to love not only life—but learning to have a new profound idealism of loving yourself.

Published by Frieda Lopez at Frieda the Writer

Frieda López is the writer for Journey of an Unraveled Road who was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. Through her professional career in Customer Relations and Retail Management, she has utilized her experience and interactions with the behavioral patterns, which was used to start her personal journey with Journey of A Unraveled Road as her debut novel. She has completed philosophy, psychology, and theology courses at San Antonio College as well as creative writing courses. Frieda López has been a lifelong writer since 2nd grade. A survivor of childhood trauma, childhood abuse, and domestic violence, she wrote this piece, which started this book as her personal journey; works from home in San Antonio, TX.

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