31 min read

Breaking the Myth of Forgiveness

I think we need to forget everything we think we know about forgiveness.
Breaking the Myth of Forgiveness
Photo by Stefano Pollio / Unsplash

I think we need to forget everything we think we know about forgiveness.

That's it. That's the intro.

The Problem With Forgiveness

Many of us were raised to see forgiveness as a relational act.

An act of leaving the past where it's at for the sake of restoring normalcy.

We were taught that to forgive meant to go back to normal, often without any:

  • Accountability
  • Changed behavior from the other person moving forward
  • Adjustments in boundaries for our own protection and the actual greater good of the relationship
  • A felt sense of validation and understanding about the harm we endured
  • Protection from loved ones so the harm doesn't happen again

We were pushed to sacrifice all these basic necessities of reconciliation and repair in relationship. To sweep our own pain under the rug along with any boundaries, requests, or standards we had.

And if we failed to do this? Well, there were consequences.

You forgive, or you're the scapegoat and now they're mad at you for being "the problem".

Suddenly you're being held "accountable", and expected to change your behavior back to what it was before the harm occurred.

It happens when we don't forgive our parents.

When we don't forgive our siblings.

When we struggle to forgive our partners, our friends, our coworkers, our bosses.

These are the rules.

All in the name of loving family, community, and God, right?

And at some point a lot of us started asking what does any of that shit mean if it forbids you from loving yourself?

Forgiveness, as we were taught it, wasn't love at all.

Forgiveness, the way we were taught it, is an act of self-betrayal.

Two Shades of Forgiveness

Socialized Forgiveness: the False Idol of Love, Family, & Community

Forgiveness was imperialized and socialized like much of the rest of the world and the bodies in it.

We were never taught about true forgiveness. What it means or the gifts it actually gives us.

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