On the path to peace, we encounter the struggle for balance between being consciously kind and loving and tolerating the intolerable. The Guiding Principles of Reality teach us that Love is the answer … that there is a gift in every single encounter, including the most painful ones. The principles emphasize that we must give up blame to find the peace and resolution we seek. And so we, in our efforts to comply with the principles, grit our teeth behind frozen smiles, and with stilted breath, put on an outer appearance of what we think it looks like to be forgiving. Because we SHOULD forgive … And we want to – sometimes …
What does it mean to practice forgiveness, and how do we do it? Forgiveness is the act of looking at the other person with a detached understanding that they are acting as they do out of their own painful beliefs. The primary state of mind required for forgiveness is a committed inner refusal to take what the other person does personally. Their behavior is not about US, but about the story they are telling themselves (about us). We do not have to jump into the role they assign us and play it out with them.
WE ALWAYS HAVE THE CHOICE TO STAY AND PLAY THE PAINFUL PART WE'VE BEEN ASSIGNED OR OPT OUT.
Being a conduit for Love and forgiving others does not mean that we are to tolerate maltreatment from them. In Reality, love sometimes comes guised as a terrible event, turns on one sharply and delivers a sort of “shaktipat,” or sudden, even “rude” awakening. Sometimes Love prompts us to take action that may land the other in jail, or left behind, feeling rejected, and unfairly treated. Sometimes Love requires we play the part of the “bad guy” in even our closest relationships.
Sometimes Love is the willingness to let them be angry with us – without needing to relent or fix it for them. We recognize anger as a place on the road and their right …
Here are some examples of times when being loving may not look like loving kindness at all:
Our child is speaking disrespectfully using loud and inappropriate language … suddenly he draws back his fist as if to punch us …
It is not loving or forgiving to tolerate destructive behavior. We can detach from the behavior by reminding ourselves that he is into his own unhappy story … but understanding that does not mean there doesn't need to be immediate consequential action taken – BECAUSE we love him! And because we love him, we do not want to leave him with the impression that inappropriate behavior works for him or others! For indeed, in Reality, such behavior brings harsh consequences – and we don't want that for our children … so we stand in “NO.”
We can empathize and understand; we can forgive, as well as feel great compassion towards those around us, when they act out of their self-destructive patterns, but it is NOT a loving act to tolerate unloving acts from others.
Our boyfriend comes over drunk again …
We used to threaten, cajole, and manipulate, using every resource we knew to get him to stop drinking – until finally, after years of working on our own process of recovery, we have come to accept that he is who he is, and does what he does because he believes and thinks the way he does … and we stopped taking it so personal … but let's say that today was different – this time when he came in drunk, hurled insults, and vomited on the new rug we notice a different response arise in us. It's not anger particularly, more like tired, It's not a lack of love that we feel … there's even compassion towards him because we have finally come to accept that he cannot stop doing what he does until he's ready, and we have also come to realize that it's not our business anyway. We have stopped blaming him, ourselves, his unhappy childhood, whatever… AND at the same time we know in that innermost “knowing” part of us that it's time to move on. We are simply ready to go.
It takes a long time to come to a point where we can appreciate the gifts of insight and personal growth that painful interpersonal dynamics can bring us. When we do finally see it, our ability to feel grateful expands exponentially … we start seeing the awesome opportunities for growth these challenging relationships have offered us and since we know there's nothing in our life that we didn't attract vibrationally we trust that whatever it is, it is in our life for our own good. And we have permission to move on when we're done to the next set of life-expanding lessons. When it's time to tell him, we do it from a space of love, rather than blame, with gentle firmness in our tone. Even if he blames or threatens, because that's the way he handles things … we remain kind in our relentless decision to do the most loving thing for us both … which is to walk away… because to stay is unkind to both ourselves and to him.
THE UNIVERSAL LAW SAYS WHEN WE DO WHAT'S TRULY BEST FOR OURSELVES, IT IS ULTIMATELY WHAT'S BEST FOR THOSE AROUND US TOO.
Our ex-boyfriend has been physically violent with uS in the past, and we put a restraining order on him requiring he keep a clearly stated distance from us – now he is standing at our door, begging us to forgive him and to let him in.
With kind detachment, we observe his inability to respect the boundaries outlined by the restraining order – without judging him for it. Nonetheless we realize that if he cannot honor the law, he certainly cannot be trusted to handle being let into our home. We see the potential set-up for both of us if we fail to hold firm in our resolve.
IF we do not deliver the consequences outlined for his violation of the order placed upon him, there's a strong likelihood that he will do it again and again … nothing has changed. To participate with him in his flagrant disregard for the restrictions placed upon him by the legal restraint is not a loving thing to do for him. It is more likely a reaction driven by fear, or guilt, or pity … but certainly not from love. Only when we are ready to mean what we say, and, in fact, because we see that the kinder thing to do for him is to stand firm in refusing to open the door, and by following through on what the civil order calls for, we demonstrate to him that we are serious about taking care of ourselves, which encourages him to take us more seriously too. We recognize that following through on what we said we would do is indeed the most loving thing we can do to help not only ourselves, but it helps him to move on too.
Love does not reinforce negative behavior, but calls it for what it is … how do we know when it's necessary to call someone on their behavior? Simply put, when they are standing on our toes!
Think about it, if someone is standing on our feet would we stand there and say nothing? Is it kind or loving to tolerate their oppressive weight – is it loving towards them to tolerate their thoughtless unconsciousness towards us? How is that kind – to us or them?
WHEN WE BECOME DOORMATS FOR THOSE AROUND US WE ARE NOT BEING KIND TO OURSELVES. IN FACT WE ABANDON OURSELVES AND TEACH THEM TO TREAT US SIMILARLY. THIS CAN NEVER PRODUCE FORGIVENESS.
We can forgive them for what they do, and go on loving them, even as we proclaim, “OUCH! Get off my feet!” 🙂
As soon as we make our point … without blaming them, or ourselves, we return to a state of peace and acceptance of what is. There is no need to hold grudges … or to punish them, because we realize to do so only keeps us in an unfriendly state of consciousness that causes us to suffer! So we accept them where they are, and we make our choices about whether to stay or go based on what's best for us both.
We see that they react – only always – from their own beliefs … which means that if they believe they must stand on us to feel better about themselves … they will go on doing it – especially if we don't insist otherwise.
And if they cannot abide by appropriate boundaries, whatever their excuses, we may decide to love them from a distance. Our response is a firm withdrawal from the line of fire, based on our recognition that we must model the respect for ourselves we long to receive from them. Sometimes it's kinder to “yank the band-aid off” all at once than it is to go on putting off the inevitable. So we don't hang around waiting for the right moment for them to understand why we do what we do before we take action … if the situation calls for it – for instance, if the physical safety of ourselves or our children is at risk – we consider it legitimate to RUN … whether we choose to stand firm or sneak out the back, we do whatever is necessary to take care of ourselves … Regardless of how they see it, we know we are doing what is ultimately best and therefore most loving when we protect ourselves from harm and them from harming us.
However, while we may find it necessary to take outer immediate, even drastic, action, we none the less have one eye turned inward, looking for what it is in ourselves that is in need of refinement; we search for what in our relationship with ourselves needs to be reframed. For instance, we ask, what in us is being played out for our “viewing pleasure” through the situation? Rather than to blame them for our unhappiness, or ourselves for getting into such a painful situation, we take appropriate action to take care of ourselves. And we look within to find the reasons we needed to experience this particular set of circumstances. Rather than to blame ourselves, we see all of our encounters as opportunities to refine our consciousness and to enrich our relationship with ourselves, and the Universe.
So even though we may be running hard … we simultaneously feel immense gratitude, for these powerful growth opportunities that life brings, and for having good strong legs that can hold us up and/or run hard and fast when that's what's called for! 😉
Read FACES OF VICTIM to better understand the dynamics and roles we play in the cycle of dysfunction and abuse.
We can build new neural pathways by repetitively downloading the seed thoughts and guiding principles that return us to Reality and peace. NeuroCue has created a phone app that offers The Reality Formula: Stepping Stones to Peace for helping you build a new response to life rather than resort to the old painfully destructive mental habits that hold us prisoner to negative reactivity.