GUEST POST: The Tango of Forgiveness by Sari Byrd

I asked my Mother for her thoughts on Forgiveness.

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Bali One
Ubud, Bali – S.G. Byrd

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They say it takes “two to tango” and for me the same holds true for forgiveness.

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If we ourselves believe we need to ask another/others for forgiveness it is because we recognize that something we’ve done [or failed to do] has caused pain or damage to them, take responsibility for that reality and then make our request.

Those whom we’ve hurt of course remain free to either offer or withhold their forgiveness but regardless of their decision if we’ve acted within integrity accepting “our part”, feeling true empathy for those we’ve wounded and approaching them with an open heart we need to accept their choice/s.

Then we also gain the opportunity for self-reflection and attempting to use ourselves better in the world going forward.

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So if we become damaged, betrayed, abused, etc. within relationships with others I believe that any truly meaningful resolution and possibility of forgiveness needs to occur within those same relationships.

Of course this requires that the perpetrator/s of the original act/s must both acknowledge and accept responsibility for that reality and reach out to those they’ve wounded asking for forgiveness.

When this never occurs and instead the perpetrator/s deny and/or refuse to even discuss their actions this only serves to further damage and dis empower the injured party through ignoring and devaluing the reality of their experience.

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There are those who believe in what I would suggest might be called “blanket amnesty” forgiveness. Forgiveness offered to anyone for anything they may have done irregardless of whether the perpetrator is a participant.

I need to respect that this must work for them on some level or they wouldn’t make this choice.

For myself this approach would run counter to so many of my beliefs.

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Bali Two
Ubud, Bali – S.G. Byrd

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I do believe that there are things which the damaged person may feel are beyond forgivable but that doesn’t necessarily preclude the possibility there might be some healing for both the perpetrator and the damaged person were an honest discussion of relevant events to occur between them.

If the perpetrator takes responsibility and expresses true remorse the damaged person finally has his/her experience validated and that is a huge first step in their healing process.

The perpetrator has to finally confront the consequences of his/her behavior and offered the opportunity with sufficient introspection and time the possibility of personal growth and change.

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I also believe that our initial and most important life long relationship is the one with ourselves.

Others will nurture, support and love us and/or abandon, sabotage, abuse us, etc. etc.

However unless/until we are willing to do the work required to accept and nurture and truly love ourselves, all of our relationships with others are no substitute.

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Becoming an autonomous person who is respectful, accepting and loving of oneself is very hard work over a lifetime and can only serve to deepen and enrich our relationships with others.

Yet there are those who would argue it’s only through selflessness and taking care of others we can become truly good people.

If we are self less and don’t learn how to take very good care of ourselves this often includes remaining unable to set appropriate, healthy boundaries and losing our own voices and belief in our experience in the face of abusive, damaging and other inappropriate behaviors.

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Demanding a partner before starting the tango of forgiveness is for me a very good thing.

– Sari G. Byrd , October 31, 2015

Bali
Ubud, Bali – S.G. Byrd

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Sari Byrd – Is in her 8th decade of happily traveling, playing tennis, creating jewelry, teaching and swimming.

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