So much emphasis is placed on forgiveness. Everyone is familiar with quotes highlighting the virtues of being the forgiving person, as well as the alleged self-inflicted consequence of hanging onto unforgiveness. I’m not even going to bring the religious directives into this monologue. What follows is my opinion, not my advice. So if you don’t relate, it’s OK. I don’t have a problem with your different opinion. In fact, it’s not my intention to criticize anyone who does forgive – I respect that you’re probably much nicer than I am.
I’m quite content to not forgive. The exception is when the intention was not to hurt. An honest mistake I can forgive, but I’m not writing about mistakes here.
Some stories from the news which have surprised me in this regard were, for example:
- A woman left blinded after a bomb – forgives the bomber
- Some victims not only forgive their attacker, but go and visit them in jail
If I was a victim, I’m not saying I wouldn’t visit my attacker – but it wouldn’t be to forgive – it would be to take delight in inflicting pain, (which would be unlikely in jail). What would I do if I knew I would not be caught? I’d dexterise people who hurt other people and animals.
From a young age, society encourages us to ‘be the better person’ by being forgiving – which usually goes hand-in-hand with non-retaliation, lack of vindictiveness and replacing the angry feelings with more neutral and socially acceptable ones which make everyone feel more comfortable. The problem with this, in my opinion, is that while I’m angry and unforgiving, I have some power – I’m maintaining that choice – it’s all I have, as a victim. It’s natural. Let’s compare our existence with the animal world: over-complicated by ourselves, with ‘rules’ made up by society. So in the animal world, the natural reaction to the perpetrator is to growl and bite. If necessary, to attack and kill.
By letting go of my anger and unforgiveness, I’m giving up my fight, my protest. For me, being angry keeps me from falling apart. Even if time has passed, and I am now in a safe environment, I don’t want my instinct to be neutralized. I don’t want to give up and say ‘it’s OK’. It’s not OK. It will never be OK. What happened cannot be undone, not with time, not with ‘healing’. The scars will heal, but they will be a part of me forever. So I must not insult them by making them invisible, looking past them. They served a purpose, perhaps a lesson I would rather not have learned, but I will respect their existence. They too play a part in the balance of all of me.
I want to continue to acknowledge my feelings, to honour my instinct. I value all of me, and that includes my lightness and my darkness, equally – in order to maintain my balance. Like a battery cell, I have my positive and my negative side. I don’t want to apologise for my negative, I don’t wish to subdue it. I believe that I have enough positive (most of the time of equal, or greater amounts than the negative).
I embrace my duality, and my fluidity to glide effortlessly in the space between the extremes, as I instinctively feel is appropriate. I appreciate the lamb in me – that would do no harm. Equally, I appreciate the tiger in me – that would deliberately inflict great harm. I’m happy with me – I don’t dwell in guilt about my darkness. Instead of being the tiger in lamb’s clothing, I’m both. Sometimes I’m the lamb and sometimes I’m the tiger. It’s the situation that determines which way the scale tips.
I’m reminded of a bumper sticker I saw many years ago: 51% sweetheart, 49% bitch J
Now that I’m a little distracted, I can’t resist a slight detour … Between the dark and the light, there’s a little gray patch of humour. So, in summary, I don’t see dead people (who scare me), I see living people (some of which I want to hurt).
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