One of the tenants of healing is to forgive. It is crucial.
Yet, if you go too soon and forgive before you are ready, the wound only deepens.
False forgiveness, forgiving when you are truly not ready, does not allow for healing to take place. It is the placebo remedy. It looks and sounds like the real thing, but inside it is empty.
By offering forgiveness you stretch out your heart, yet if you have not healed to a place where healthy boundaries are created then forgiveness is false.
Most often, false forgiveness comes from an intention to speed up the healing or do the next step you are “supposed” to do. This is not healing. This is “good girl” entrapment that deepens the wound.
We know deeply that to forgive is to be set free. This point of freedom is so alluring that we will do whatever it takes to get there. But if we try to fly before our wings are fully formed – or before we are healed enough to continue – then we fall. Deeper.
Undoing False Forgiveness
Forgiveness offers us the “love and light” feeling we so desperately crave. We want things to be all better. With an olive branch of forgiveness we can sever the chords of discomfort. When we forgive we can let go.
Yet with false forgiveness we let go too soon. And with good reason. The discomfort of sitting in the rage, anger, betrayal, shock, abandonment, unlovability, unhealthy boundaries – whatever needs forgiving – can be excruciating. It’s uncomfortable. But the feelings are working on and out of us. It’s a process of growth. When we let go early when the depth of the feelings aren’t done with us yet the wisdom can’t root in. The phoenix doesn’t rise from the fire, it rises from the ashes.
Sitting in the discomfort is sitting in the fire. This is where the transformation happens. The hotspot of healing.
When I sit with clients I often say I’m sitting with them in their fire. There’s no need to rescue them because it is their experience that burns inside that wants to alchemize into wisdom. This is the magic of the pain, the reward of not running. This is the valiant victor in all her glory rooted in the depth of her wisdom and rising to take up more space, to be more of who she came to be.
False forgiveness does not speed up healing, it derails the trip. It widens the wound and begets more pain only to be felt later.
These words aren’t meant to discourage you. They are meant to sit next with you as you tend to the fire of your transformation.
Healing is a process, not a destination. The wounds are always with us, but they become less gaping, they bleed less, they ooze less sorrow when they are witnessed and tended to.
Tending to our soft spots isn’t all doom and gloom, either. Healing requires deep belly laughs (I really think comedians offer some of the greatest gateways to healing on earth), connection with those we love, bedtime rituals that nourish – whatever it is that makes you feel whole. This is tender loving care. Not spiritually bypassing with false forgiveness, or pretending the hurt isn’t there, but witnessing it, feeling it, and living through it.
Forgiveness is a powerful anecdote, but only when our wounds have healed enough for forgiveness to be offered.
This week has been a lot for America. We are wounded collectively. Remind yourself to not rush to forgiveness, but truly gauge how you feel and be with it. Let your feelings show you the doors of healing that want to open for you and walk through them when you feel ready.
Forgiveness is an elixir not to be watered down but met with sincerity for toxic chords to be severed. Take your time. Good work can never be rushed.