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Friday, September 16, 2011

The secrets of forgiveness

I think forgiveness is actually a lot easier than most people realize. We just don't really think about it because when something bad is done to us we focus on how we feel about it and fall into the trap of finding someone to blame for how we feel.

This builds on my blog about owning our emotions and my blog about solving conflict with the ones you love in those blogs I describe how damaging it can be to blame other people for how you feel.
However there is an additional layer when it comes to finding forgiveness which is to understand why judging people on even their actions is false.
The problem comes about because we all think we are self made. In reality only a very few learn the skill of changing themselves. Most people are not self made at all or only slightly responsible for who they are.
So what about the rest of us? It turns out we are mostly governed by genetics, our environment, our peer group and our society.

For example when Tim was a young boy he grew up and his family beat him often when he didn't obey. By this experience Tim has learned the beating people is ok if they don't obey. In Tims culture the wife is meant to obey the husband. Tim is a wife beater when he grows up. But Tim is not evil, he just lives in a world where beating is ok and controlling others is ok.

Now imagine that world, that is Tims world where he is always afraid of someone else trying to beat or control him and he often feels he has to hurt people he loves. He has no choice but live in that world, that is the world he was born too.
The following advertisement really nailed this for me and gives me shivers every time:

Do you still hate Tim because he is a wife beater? Personally I feel his pain, and I feel sad that he was never shown a better happier world to live in. I feel sad for the wife he beats too. It isn't anyones fault though, it is just a really bad situation. One that we can help change.
By putting people in a new enrivonment where it is not ok to beat people or cotnrol them maybe Tim will get a chance to see through his upbringing. By telling him what he is doing is not ok we can bring social pressure to the table. Or we can teach him and others how to change themselves, how to unlearn what they learned as children, how to live in a warm and wonderful world instead of a fearful and painful one.
It's still our responsibility to tell people it's not OK and do all we can to improve things, but we can do that from a feeling of hope instead of a feeling of anger.
That's what I'm trying to do with Debug Reality. We can all live in a wonderful world!

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