The first step
One thing friends do is forgive one another. In fact, since they generally extend to one another the benefit of the doubt, many fewer situations turn out to require it. One might say they practice pre-forgiveness.
When is it appropriate to forgive?
Well, a hundred years ago, Madame de Stael wrote this about that:
“To understand is to forgive.”
This quotation has always struck yours foolie as a whole lot of something to say for such a few words.
If she’s interpreting it right, it is always appropriate to extend forgiveness ~ in fact, if it’s not automatic there’s something you don’t yet know about the circumstances which provoked the objectionable action.
You know, that thing about “walking a mile in the other man’s moccasins”? That.
Well, who could we check with who might qualify as a world-class expert on this subject?
How ’bout Mother Teresa ~ would she do?…
“If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.”
Well, that’s pretty much all-inclusive, isn’t it?
Who else would qualify? Maybe… Saint Augustine?
“Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.”
That sounds pretty valuable to yours foolie.
Who else? Would we consider Mohandas Gandhi’s opinion valuable?
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
From where the human race, individually, culturally and internationally, stands at this moment, no effort to create a sane and adult condition of peace among our tantrum-throwing populations can even begin unless first we begin to practice the almost-forgotten art of that final opportunity to make things right which goes by the name of forgiveness.
Here’s how she goes about it
To begin at the end ~ yours foolie runs a final check on the thoroughness of any forgiveness process she is about to call complete by asking herself this question: Does she feel grateful to the other person involved for the actions being forgiven?
To answer this question, she checks the emotions which come up in her heart when she thinks about that person’s role in the chain of events involved. She checks her mind for any ongoing busywork around their resolution. She checks her body for sensations of lightness, heaviness, energy loss or gain, increase or alleviation of pain level. And she checks her spirit for clarity, peace and balance when she runs those same inner event recordings
If central clarity and peace remain undisturbed
even when those troubling events are contemplated…
… If her body sends no warning signals but instead signals of unimpeded connection to abundant energies; if her mind finds nothing remaining to solve or resolve, she moves her inner scrutiny to the heart level.
Of course, any feelings of blame or resentment are huge red flags indicating the need for further processing.
In yours foolie’s book, though, so are smaller emotional symptoms such as regret, shame, guilt, or any need whatsoever to assign blame.
Remember: “To understand is to forgive.”
Even absolute emotional neutrality is to her but another stage (albeit an advanced one) on the road toward a state of being to which she can be comfortable in assigning the name of true forgiveness.
What she looks for in her heart is the calm, warm glow of gratitude.
Why should ~ and how can ~ she be grateful?
Well, yours foolie sees it this way…
Having survived the event, she herself is the wealthier by valuable lessons which, after she let go of resentment and rage, she’s figured out she picked up in the mix ~ and which she can now see might have been taught in much harder ways. Lessons which will undoubtedly enable her, when possible, to avoid and, when unavoidable, to deal more effectively with situations of its kind in the future.
In order to gain the benefit of those lessons, she has had to deal with the individual being forgiven for a relatively short period of time, when compared to that of actually BEING that person, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, all their lives long…
If yours foolie could have learned those lessons via a milder and more forgiving scenario she would have. If she’d already learned them, she wouldn’t have had to learn them this way, with this unfortunate individual as her teacher. By so much, she had been the needy party in their exchange.
In other words, he or she had to be onsite, tormented and unreasonable as they were, to a significant degree, for her express benefit.
And it took their entire lifetime up to the moments in question ~ and its duration afterward as well, which will be built upon that same foundation ~ to provide her with this service.
Of the two assignments, which would she rather have had?
Of the two individuals which one, given the choice, would she wish to be?
There you go.
Most really good, really natural, really effective, really real things ~ delightfully! ~ turn out to be just that way…