“Forgiving is the most selfish thing you can do.” Hearing that from Caroline Myss certainly made me stop and think. And when I pass it on to my clients, they invariably look at me as if I’m not quite to be trusted.
Because usually we see ourselves as big-hearted and giving when we forgive, sensing it as a gift to the other person. And yet, if we don’t forgive, we don’t move on. The person who we feel has wronged us, still has power over us because their action, in part, prescribes who we are today. We continue to suffer.
When two Second World War veterans met many years after being released from a Japanese prisoner of war camp, the one asked the other if he had forgiven their captors. “No. I shall never forgive them.” “Oh”, said the first, “so they still have you imprisoned, then.”
Breaking free, involves forgiving which, of course, is not the same as condoning. We can forgive, and also make an intention that we will not allow that transgression to be visited on us, or indeed anyone else, again. It reminds me of the old saying: “kind [to yourself, by forgiving], but firm [in maintaining to your boundaries]”.