Forgiveness vs Intellectual Forgiveness

photo by j. gaddis

How do we really forgive?

Like compassion, forgiveness is a slippery one.  A lot of us, tend to forgive intellectually or we practice compassion by acting nice. As Trungpa Rinpoche said, that ain’t compassion, it’s idiot compassion. He points out that sometimes telling someone the hard truth is the most compassionate thing we can do.

Similarly there’s “intellectual forgiveness.”

This comes in the form of really bad advice such as: “You just need to forgive them and let it go.”

Not so fast. It’s not that easy people. Let’s show our experience more respect.

Forgiveness without feeling the entire spectrum of feelings associated with whatever trauma we’ve been through first, ain’t forgiveness. It’s simply intellectual forgiveness.

The good news is when we intellectually forgive, our unconscious will show us that we are not done. We need acknowledge what we’ve been through and feel the entire range of our experience first. Otherwise, I forgive on top of baggage still present. For me, I don’t forgive until I feel complete inside my being with something from my past. If I’m still judging me or how I did it, or who did wrong to me, then I’m not there.

Acting upbeat and positive on top of baggage does not work. I’ve tried it.

Another quick point…

A lot of folks think we need another person present in order to forgive them. Not true in my experience.  I don’t need another person present or available to forgive them (often it’s us that we need to forgive, not the other person). Forgiveness is inside of my internal experience so that is where I go to forgive.



1 Comment

  • Shannon

    Reply Reply December 4, 2012

    I completely agree with needing to feel the whole range of emotions in order to truly forgive. What are your thoughts on forgiving someone who isn’t asking for forgivness?

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field