A close cousin of the spiritual bypass, the forgiveness bypass is pretty hip in some circles right now. Phrases like “just let it all go” are often well-intentioned pain management strategies…….and they may even work for a little bit in the short term.
But here’s the thing. When we “forgive” someone who has harmed us without processing the very-human and very-natural emotions and physiological sensations that go with being violated, we’re actually just experiencing a degree of glorified dissociation. And deep down, we know this. When we prematurely forgive, we usually have a little niggling in our gut that tells us “there’s something deeper in here that needs to be expressed”.
This brings up our collective relationship with anger. When our boundaries have been violated, our bodies naturally produce a ton of emotions, anger being predominant. And that’s normal…..it’s a built-in biological mechanism designed to help us defend ourselves and survive. What isn’t normal is our learned relationship with anger…..most of us didn’t grow up with healthy demonstrations of anger, and as a result, we may associate anger with big blowouts, physical/emotional abuse and fear.
But in order to get to a place of authentic forgiveness, we need to get in touch with the parts of ourselves that felt wronged, violated. The parts that wanted to fight back but weren’t able to for some reason. And then allow those parts to have a voice, so that our feelings and sensations can be expressed and integrated in a healthy and sustainable way. Allowing ourselves this experience is a deeply loving act, because we’re not abandoning ourselves…..we’re staying with ourselves. Which ironically is the fertile soil needed for authentic forgiveness to grow.