Do you know that popular saying “forgive and forget”? Well, it doesn’t work because that is not how forgiveness works. There is a piece that many people tend to overlook when they are faced with the concept of forgiveness, and that is safety. It is impossible to truly forgive someone without feeling safe in that relationship.
Forgiveness is a loaded topic that we learned from our childhood. Forgiveness was taught through family, friends, and sometimes religion. Unfortunately, the concept of forgiveness that was taught to us as kids had the missing piece of safety. Forgiveness relies on a sense of safety and here’s why…
If someone hurts us, either emotionally, physically, spiritually, or sexually; our brain will do everything it can to protect us. If there is no feeling of safety in that situation your mind and body won’t let you forgive. Sure you might “forgive and forget” but that is not real forgiveness.
Real forgiveness is not about condoning someone’s actions against you. Forgiveness is about alleviating yourself from the hurt, anger, and resentment. It’s not about accepting the person’s behaviour who hurt you.
In order to reach forgiveness, there needs to be a sense of safety in that relationship. Forgiving someone is an act of vulnerability and we can only become vulnerable if we feel safe. Forgiveness and vulnerability go hand in hand and we will not engage in vulnerability if we do not feel safe in doing so. If there is no safety, it is impossible to forgive in any situation.
So how do you feel safe?
This is 100% up to you. You can ask yourself these questions regarding the relationship:
- How much safety do I have in this relationship? Emotionally, spiritually, physically, sexually (whichever is relevant).
- Is it possible for me to have safety in this relationship?
- What will it take to have safety in this relationship?
If there is not a high level of safety in the relationship than there is an issue.
Watch this Coffee Talk below to learn more about forgiveness and safety in any relationship.