I was thinking today of how poisonous regret can be. And how cruel it can be to hear the words, "I forgive you."
If you haven't dealt with your own feelings about your behavior, it's easier to bear someone's anger than their love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Having someone angry at you allows you to remove the focus from your actions to the busy relief of defending them. Or of allowing someone else to bear the burden of your behavior, thus relieving you of the need to have any feelings about it.
But if someone says, in all sincerity, "I forgive you", what are you do then? There's nowhere to go but inward, and that's not always something you want to look at.
There's a quote in the Christian Bible, that I'm too lazy to look up, that says, if someone strikes you, turn the other cheek and offer it to them.
The idea isn't to subjugate yourself to someone else's whims, as it's often interpreted. But rather to allow them to bear the full burden of their actions. Without resistance from you, without relieving them of that burden or offering a distraction from their behavior, you remain unaffected, other than the momentary sting of injustice or something else unwanted. The instant you start to resist the behavior of another, you enter into a state where you've allowed the other person to draw you into their drama.
Whatever's going on with them comes into your sphere. And now you're dealing with it too. It's easy to think that fighting back, hurting back, is the way to defend yourself from pain. But then you're locked into that cycle. Until you take a deep breath, step back, and release resistance. Truly release it.
Forgiveness, love and compassion are only for the strong. It takes a strong person to be able to offer true, genuine and unadulterated love and forgiveness in the face of pain and disappointment. It takes a strong person to be able to accept forgiveness, release regret, and understand the "why" of their actions.
I'm only now beginning to understand the personal power gained from forgiveness and love, rather than anger and blame. I can choose to feel anyway I want. Really. It's a choice. I choose love. And forgiveness.
Think of each of those emotions. How do you feel in your body with each? I feel light, expansive and happy when I allow the energy of love and forgiveness to fill my body. I feel tense, heavy, closed-off, with anger and blame. So everything I do, every thought I think, (still practicing) is geared towards bringing those feelings that feel good to me.
This includes towards myself. To other people, of course. But the hardest thing to do was to both offer myself forgiveness, and to accept it. Regret. It's a bitch. Don't do it.