We've all been there. Someone says something harsh, or forgets something important to you, or doesn't act the way you expect them to. Sometimes, we might even perceive that they're actually out to get us, hurt us or manipulate us. In the worst cases, we've hung on to unforgiveness for years, believing that if we forgave someone we'd give them license to hurt us again. (I have four fingers pointing back at me, here.)
So we decide to be angry, frustrated, sarcastic, hurtful, or generally un-loving towards them. We hang on to unforgiveness whether it's for a week with a spouse or years with an old friend.
This is the worst thing we can do.
When you let someone make you angry for something they did, you are affecting YOUR love level. You are saying, “I'm going to let some external thing affect how much love I feel. I’m going to let this injustice I perceive affect my mood, my emotions, my stress level, my love level, and my health.”
What is Unforgiveness, Really?
Unforgiveness is Ego Juice. The ego loves telling stories of wrongs, thrives on injustice, and is actually strengthened when you are hurt!
In contrast, forgiveness starves your ego and feeds your spirit.
“The primary underpinning of the persistence of negativity is the ego’s secret payoff from negativity (“juice”). This secret payoff is the ego’s only source of energy, so it sees forgiveness, as well as compassion, as the “enemy.”
-David Hawkins and Scott Jeffrey, Dissolving the Ego, Realizing the Self
“Forgiveness, acceptance, reason, and love are seen as antithetical to the ego’s secret inner purposes.” -David Hawkins, Transcending The Levels Of Consciousness
Unforgiveness, at its core, is telling a story about a person or event. We could talk about how this happens and the intricacies of your ego, but the bottom line is this:
Until you stop telling and believing that story, you’ll never fully forgive.
Types Stories We Tell
1. The story you told yourself about how things should be.
“He didn't do X” is your story that he should have done X.
“I can't believe she forgot____” is your story that she should have remembered.
“When he said ____, it hurt me” is your story that anything someone says can affect you negatively.
2. Denying the reality that we are all one. (The ego hates this idea.) You are believing there's a “me” and a “them”, and that by not loving them, you're hurting them, giving them “a taste of their own medicine,” but you also believe that you're not hurting yourself in the process. You may even feel a little superior, thinking how great it is that you're not like that.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.” -Buddha
3. The story of how you love, and that you expect everyone to be like you. So often I hear the words, either verbatim or in essence: “If he loved me, he would ____.” You have absolutely no power in the world over whether or not someone loves you, and if they do, it's not your place to say how they should love you. Your power is in loving them.
4. Attaching stories to the people we've been around for a long time.
“He knows me, he shouldn't have said that.”
“She knows how much that hurts me when she forgets.”
“I can't believe, after all we've been through…”
The Gift of Now
Can you see how not present these stories are? You're attaching a whole story to this person, instead of being present with them right now. Your ego loves to hang on to the past, loves to create elaborate stories of injustice, wrongs, and annoyances. If you leave your ego in the past and focus on loving this person now, there's no place for these stories.
Instead of being angry, frustrated, sarcastic, hurtful, or un-loving, we can instead take the position: “Nothing you said or did, or can say or do will make me stop loving you right now.”
Then you get to feel the joy of giving love.
Then you get to go about your day in a joyful mood.
Then you get to send and receive love unconditionally.
Then you get to be more present.
And you are telling the universe that no matter what is sent your way, you choose to be love.
What Is Love?
As a society, we have strange ideas of what love means. We believe that by withholding love, we are giving love in a “tough love” sort of way. We believe that by being harsh, or correcting, or pointing out error, we're giving love. Let's redefine real love
“[What's] missing is the realization that Love is a primary quality of Divinity and is also nonlinear, and that spiritual love is not an attachment. The error of the pathway of negation is to misidentify and refuse Love because, in its general, ordinary human experience, it is a limitation and an attachment (between a ‘me’ and a ‘you’ or an ‘it’).
In contrast, Divine Love is predominant, powerful, overwhelming, and the primary quality or essence of the Presence. It is profound and unconditional, with no subject or object. It is not an emotionality but a condition or a state that is liberating rather than limiting.”
-David Hawkins, Transcending The Levels Of Consciousness
Real love, Divine Love, doesn't say, “look at me loving you.” Divine Love doesn't say, “I will love you as long as you're good to me.” Divine Love doesn't say, “There are things you can do to make me stop loving you.”
“Giving love is the law that applies to everything in your life. And giving love is the law of relationships. The force of love doesn’t care whether you know someone or not, whether a person is a friend or foe, a loved one or a complete stranger. The force of love doesn’t care if you’re encountering a work colleague, boss, parent, child, student, or a person serving you in a store. With every single person you come into contact, you are either giving love or you’re not. And what you give is what you will receive.” -Rhonda Byrne, The Power
Divine Love says, “I am love. I love regardless of where I am, who I am with, or what situation I am in.”
Divine Love says, “Love is my essence. Withholding love hurts only me.”
Divine Love says, “I tell stories of love, focus on love, and send and receive only love.”
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
Four Simple Steps to Lasting Forgiveness:
1.Remember we are all one. When you withhold love from someone else, you withhold it from yourself.
2. Ignore negative stories (especially your own) Being anything less than loving towards someone means you’re attaching a story to them. You’re dragging the past into the present, and creating the future all by telling a story that is not true.
3. Love unconditionally. You have no power, control or say over how someone loves you, or if they choose to love you at all. All you can do is love them. Any time spent trying to “train” someone to love you, expecting them to love you in a certain way, or being angry about the way they’re interacting with you is a complete waste. Love them and move on.
4. Return to the present moment- again and again. There is nothing but love in the present moment. If you’re not feeling love, you’re not present. The present moment doesn’t say, “But last week she…!” The present moment doesn’t say, “He knows I hate it when…” The present moment just loves what is here, right now.