Peace without forgiveness

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SilentDawning
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Peace without forgiveness

Post by SilentDawning » 10 May 2020, 21:20

I want to share my experience with achieving inner peace, without forgiveness.

I won't go into the details of the event requiring forgiveness, only to say I've held a grudge for many many years against different people.

Part of some self-administered therapy I have been pursuing has helped me see that forgiveness isn't the only path to inner peace.

As I have pursued EMDR therapy (see the discussion at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=9795), I have found peace by reprocessing the message the situation sent -- that I was a terrible leader, that I was somehow defective and deserved the reprimand and experience. These were the core parts of the experience that caused me to hold a grudge. I now believe that there was no long-term message about my effectiveness as a leader, as there was ample evidence they still saw me as an effective leader afterwards, and before the experience.

Having dealt with that "message" from her note and the reprimand, I feel I am OK. Have I forgiven her? I am not sure, but that wasn't the goal. The goal was healing from the hurt of the situation and restoring inner peace. And it makes it a lot easier to forgive on your own when the hurt the person has caused has passed. This is particularly true because in my case, it was self-defeating, self-loathing hurt. This has been reprocessed, as has the outcomes of the situation. Without the hurt, with thanksgiving for the experience, I feel that I am better-positioned to forgive than I was before the therapy.

But again, that wasn't/isn't the goal here. I think forgiveness is only one path to inner peace. Reinterpreting the meaning and impact of an experience is another path. This is a major revelation for me (non-spiritual), that the goal is inner peace. And that inner peace is not necessarily achieved only through forgiveness. The self-harmful behavior and other negative outcomes of the situation can be addressed without forgiveness.

Another thought - this therapy I am trying is a lot of work. It means time, investment in equipment, and much journal writing. I am not sure I want to invest the time in also trying to forgive this woman. I no longer hold a grudge as I am thankful for the experience, and feel at peace about the experience. However, I don't feel the need to invest the time in forgiveness, as frankly, the person who did this to me isn't really worth the space in my mind -- she's not paying rent for it. I would rather move on to finding peace about other experiences.

Bottom line, forgiveness is not the only path to peace. Other paths involve healing from the hurtful messages the behavior of other people caused, whether intended or perceived.

And now, I must rest (in peace) :D
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

TinSoldier
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Re: Peace without forgiveness

Post by TinSoldier » 10 May 2020, 22:44

This is spot on relevant for me right now. My situation is a little different, of course. What has been troubling me is how to "forgive" someone for something they did to me when. A) they now totally deny they did it at all, and B) they were never told the severity of the consequences, that it could have killed me. I won't stick with the Reader's Digest version for now, but there was a huge blow-up between my better half and her adult daughter. It got physical. At the time I was about two months past my last chemo infusion and still very much affected by fatigue and weakness, so I was staying clear of any of the physical part. I wasn't even verbally attacking her daughter. The only thing I really did was try (futilely) to calm my better half. She wasn't the aggressor, but that was all I could really do. At one point I was sitting on the floor and her daughter came over screaming at me with a spray can of some sort, mocking me for something that really made no sense, then sprayed me with whatever was in the can in my face and on my still-bald head. That was the night she was kicked out for good. She had only been there for a few months after breaking up with her boyfriend, but it had been a nightmare to have her here.

After she left I was sitting in the living room and started feeling really weird. I realized my heart was going wonky, irregular beats that seemed to be both fast and slow at times. Then I started feeling very faint. I realized I was going into shock and dragged myself to a tub, ran it full of hot water and got in with my feet propped up. When I finally had a chance to check the can she sprayed me with it was Freon, one of those kits you use at home to recharge you car AC. Freon toxicity can cause the exact symptoms I experienced that night, up to and including sudden death from exposure. In my weakened state, I was very vulnerable.

Now mother and daughter are speaking occasionally (trust me, my better half was attacked more seriously than I was) and her daughter shows up at the house once in awhile. I can't bring myself to speak to her. I have felt like I need to forgive her, but how can I forgive someone who is in complete denial that she did anything wrong? She has rewritten the entire situation to make herself out as the victim. Trust me, that's an absolute distortion of what happened. And she denies that she did anything at all to me.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Peace without forgiveness

Post by DarkJedi » 11 May 2020, 03:59

Since I believe peace is both internal and external (but more internal) I think it is absolutely possible to find inner peace in almost any circumstance. Victor Frankl and Man's Search For Meaning comes to mind.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Roy
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Re: Peace without forgiveness

Post by Roy » 11 May 2020, 11:26

SilentDawning wrote:
10 May 2020, 21:20
However, I don't feel the need to invest the time in forgiveness, as frankly, the person who did this to me isn't really worth the space in my mind -- she's not paying rent for it. I would rather move on to finding peace about other experiences.
I am thinking that one goal of forgiveness is to avoid grudges, bitterness, and rancor to make a permanent home in your mind and possibly sour your personality and mental outlook.

Even with forgiveness, setting boundaries are important. I have loaned money to a person that did not pay me back. I do not spend time thinking about it and still remain on friendly terms with this person that I see infrequently - but I will not enter into any such similar agreement in the future.

I suppose for me, actual forgiveness becomes more important for those that are closest to me (immediate family members, etc.).
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SilentDawning
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Re: Peace without forgiveness

Post by SilentDawning » 11 May 2020, 19:52

Roy wrote:
11 May 2020, 11:26
I suppose for me, actual forgiveness becomes more important for those that are closest to me (immediate family members, etc.).
I agree with that. I think indifference is a healthy emotion when the person isn't close to you. Or when you can decide for yourself how much time you will invest in the relationship with them. We only have so much mental energy to devote to the bad stuff in life -- why invest mental energy in people who are harmful to be around? Why not just be indifferent to them while leaving any need to forgive on the shelf -- so long as their behavior isn't bothering you or repeated.

Roy, part of me wonders though why you quoted the part above where I said the person's actions weren't worth the work it will take to actually forgive them -- now that I got peace by reprocessing the message I thought was implied by her actions and the actions of our Bpric. Do you care to clarify that Roy? This is not a challenge of any kind, just something I am wondering....I don't see the link between my quote and your post below it.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Peace without forgiveness

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 May 2020, 20:18

"Forgiveness is letting a prisoner go free and realizing the prisoner was you."
The wording might not be exact, since I am quoting from memory, but I love that thought. I still can remember, and, in some cases, I still can take measures not to interact with the person, but forgiveness frees ME in a very real way.

Peace and forgiveness, however, are two different things. It is possible to have peace without forgiveness, and it also is possible to forgive and not have peace - depending on the nature of the offense and the harm it causes.

Too often, we conflate or confuse the two - and that can cause multiple issues.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Gerald
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Re: Peace without forgiveness

Post by Gerald » 12 May 2020, 07:03

I no longer hold a grudge as I am thankful for the experience, and feel at peace about the experience. However, I don't feel the need to invest the time in forgiveness, as frankly, the person who did this to me isn't really worth the space in my mind -- she's not paying rent for it.
Maybe that is forgiveness. Or some form thereof. Maybe forgiveness can be defined as letting go of hurt and anger and not letting the person or incident impact you anymore. Or maybe not. In any event, what's most important is that it works.

Many years ago, my wife and I became embroiled in a major conflict with my parents (mainly my mother) and one of my siblings. It was a very difficult time and I can remember vividly taking a long walk determined to never speak to my parents again. After great internal, personal struggle, I decided that this was NOT how I wanted to handle it and let it go. I've never regretted that decision (though it was very very hard!). I now have a decent relationship with both parents and sibling. Then about five years ago, another conflict arose wherein a different sibling and my wife (who both work for the same organization) found themselves on opposite sides of a particular issue. And this sibling ended doing some things that created great personal pain and hardship for my wife (not done maliciously just thoughtlessly). And my parents tried to stay out of it but it was fairly clear where their loyalties were (not with us). Since that time, I have struggled to forgive. I still have a relationship with my parents though I must admit it's cooler than it was. My relationship with the offending sibling is cool as well though we see each other all the time and participate in family events. I guess I haven't forgiven them. I'm not as angry as I was with the first incident but I have found it harder to let this one go. Yet, I live a decent life and don't really think about it too much. I suppose I have peace (at least as far as that goes) and, like SD, am not sure that I want to invest the emotional energy in achieving forgiveness right now. But I'm not consumed with bitterness either. I'm not sure that it's forgiveness but it's an acceptable sort of peace nonetheless.
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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nibbler
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Re: Peace without forgiveness

Post by nibbler » 14 May 2020, 19:55

Curt Sunshine wrote:
11 May 2020, 20:18
"Forgiveness is letting a prisoner go free and realizing the prisoner was you."
The wording might not be exact, since I am quoting from memory, but I love that thought. I still can remember, and, in some cases, I still can take measures not to interact with the person, but forgiveness frees ME in a very real way.
I've heard the following:
Nelson Mandela wrote:As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.
Or the similarly themed:
Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

Roy
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Re: Peace without forgiveness

Post by Roy » 15 May 2020, 11:05

SilentDawning wrote:
11 May 2020, 19:52
Roy, part of me wonders though why you quoted the part above where I said the person's actions weren't worth the work it will take to actually forgive them -- now that I got peace by reprocessing the message I thought was implied by her actions and the actions of our Bpric. Do you care to clarify that Roy? This is not a challenge of any kind, just something I am wondering....I don't see the link between my quote and your post below it.
Sure. No problem.

I quoted you in writing...
SilentDawning wrote:
10 May 2020, 21:20
However, I don't feel the need to invest the time in forgiveness, as frankly, the person who did this to me isn't really worth the space in my mind -- she's not paying rent for it. I would rather move on to finding peace about other experiences.
I agree with you. The woman that I loaned money to was my wife's visiting teaching assignment and the dollar amount was low (a little more than $50). We did not see her for a long time after lending her the money and I sometimes wondered if she felt that she couldn't come around any more to face the unpaid debt. We also know her mother and my kids have been friendly with her kids. Now, years later, when she comes along with her mother and family to an event then I make an effort to be friendly. If she is piecing her life back together then good for her. I have no need to make her feel unwelcome over it. I do wonder sometimes if she even remembers. Either because she was on drugs at the time or because she burned so many people that it can be difficult to keep track.
In my example there is a literal debt that has not been forgiven exactly. If this woman were to offer repayment, I would accept. However, I make no effort to collect or even to bring it up. I just do not think about it (or her) . As you stated in the above quoted portion, "she's not paying rent [to occupy bandwidth in my mind]." I have achieved peace with her without forgiving her.

However, I also imagine that part of my success is due to the social distance that I have from this person. If a family member were to have similarly failed to repay a debt then I might have to bring up the issue in order to let them know that I forgive the debt, there is no repayment outstanding or expected and we are "square" in my mind. Such might be a necessary step to resume the relationship without any awkwardness.
Roy wrote:
11 May 2020, 11:26
I suppose for me, actual forgiveness becomes more important for those that are closest to me (immediate family members, etc.).
In your case, I believe that you have moved on mentally and can move forward without spending any further time on it.

I hope this helps to expand upon my earlier post.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Katzpur
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Re: Peace without forgiveness

Post by Katzpur » 28 Jun 2020, 11:37

SilentDawning wrote:
10 May 2020, 21:20
I no longer hold a grudge as I am thankful for the experience, and feel at peace about the experience. However, I don't feel the need to invest the time in forgiveness, as frankly, the person who did this to me isn't really worth the space in my mind -- she's not paying rent for it.
To me, that's all forgiveness really is. It's not convincing yourself to be okay with the hurt you've been caused. It's just getting to a point where you no longer find yourself wishing ill for the person who caused the pain. It doesn't even mean liking the person. It just means directing your energy to a more productive place.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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