A lot has been written about forgiveness and much more can be written. I think there is so much false forgiveness in our culture, it does more harm than good. There are people who say they have never experienced any anger, and when you get to know them, you see many acts of passive-aggression, showing that they do in fact have anger. But people think it is a spiritual stance not to have any anger, and I have known many people in the spiritual communities who are extremely angry. I also think that people are judged for feeling angry in our culture. I think the people who are angry judge others who openly express their anger and then feel one up. There are people who have been horribly wronged—of course they are angry! It’s interesting that our culture has so little tolerance for genuine and righteous anger, and yet we have such an angry culture. All we have to do is look at all the spiritual one-upmanship that abounds to know how much anger is around. I am of the belief that to really forgive, whatever one means by it, there needs to be some understanding and acknowledgment of the anger and hurt felt, and what was felt by the perpetrator. I do not think there is a “should” with forgiveness, but who wants to feel pain forever because there is an ongoing passionate hatred for someone, whether they deserved it or not?
In this blog I will write of a young woman who came first to genuine compassion and empathy and then forgiveness, and how she spread it around. I think this is someone who walked the walk, not just talked the talk.
Aleta Edwards, Psy.D.
I am a psychotherapist in private practice, with a strong interest in shame and perfectionism. I will periodically post my thoughts about these topics and other observations relating to emotional health.