Forgiveness is the realization
that blame is a mistake
Forgiveness is, of course, a very desirable quality,
but often we misunderstand what it means. Forgiveness means finally seeing
that the other person was not really responsible for what we thought came
from them. Sometimes we try to force ourselves to forgive, thinking we are
being spiritual or loving, or simply in the attempt to avoid pain. We continue
to believe that the other is responsible for what has happened to us, but
now we have pardoned them for their behavior.
Such “forgiveness” is intellectual, pseudo,
and self-deceptive. It puts us more out of touch with our inner experience.
It can even inflate the ego, because we think we are generous enough to
forgive. True forgiveness means understanding that the original blame was
wrong; it is not the granting of a pardon for what we mistakenly believe
someone has done to us.
Blame is particularly relevant in parent/child dynamics,
which traditional therapy focuses on heavily. We are encouraged to forgive
our parents, often without understanding that we should own our past. This
kind of therapy can work in the long run, but the question is, would another,
more realistic approach work more effectively? We choose our parents and
early environment to serve as a catalyst for our character. The events of
childhood merely activate contents latent in the child’s subconscious,
a viewpoint being discussed and supported by transpersonal psychologists
Often we don’t want to let go of blame because
of nothing more than pride. Unconsciously we understand the truth that we
are responsible for our experience. The conscious ego, however, wants to
blame because it is defending itself. It does not want to feel that it could
be stupid enough to cause harm to itself. The nature of the ego, and of
highly egocentric people in particular, is always to be right, and blame
is usually how self-righteousness is maintained.