Redemption is a sexy word but is it as promising as its entails? Can a person truly redeem themselves when they have done you wrong? Forgiveness appears as a simple concept. We allow the wrongdoer to atone for their mistakes. The reality of forgiveness however is not as simple as the concept of it. It involves two parties to acknowledging the actions, the hurt feelings involved to develop of a mutual understanding as to why it happened. The hard part about forgiveness is that our minds enjoy playing tricks. Our thoughts can plant seeds which ruin us. The doubts we have when we use our past to guide our future spark, automatic feelings questioning our actions.
I urge you to think about any relationship which destroyed you. We desperately want to repair the damage inflicted on us, part of us is fighting within, insisting we never open that chapter of our lives again. The duality of our internal conflict makes forgiveness difficult. Human psychology theorizes that our minds operate on schemas. These powerful mental patterns we form subconsciously are based on our unique life experiences. Schemas provide us the power to try something new while holding us back from personal growth. Initially, we are elated, as this person wants us back and try the relationship again. This excitement sends our brains into a euphoric state with our schemas validating all our positive feelings. Eventually those lingering doubts and feelings about the dissolved relationship come back. We begin to see negative patterns traits in others that our schemas can automatically detect. No matter how hard we want to try to fix this relationship, our minds are fixated on the past data collected.
Now I want you to refer back to my first question, has anyone who has hurt you ever tried to come back into your life? Forgiving that particular person is up to you but your schema about that person is what dictates the relationship the second time around. The old saying people can change is true, but our minds do not follow this saying. Schemas are so deeply ingrained in us that even when we see change our thoughts begin to plant seeds in us that reinforce the schema to validate our doubt.
To achieve peace of mind, one must begin to alter their own schemas. The practice seems simple it is more difficult than stated. Change begins with mindfulness. We must question the doubts we have when we are looking to give someone a second chance. Ask yourself is this thought factual, am I fortune telling outcomes, am I trying to mind read the other person to protect myself? By first understanding your own thought patterns in order to consciously alter them, you are inching towards true forgiveness. Apply the process to all aspects of the forgiveness continuum. Acknowledge the thoughts and actions you chose to follow which lead to the demise of the relationship. Try to understand why the other person reacted the way they did. Look for patterns of true change and not only a sense of comfort with that person, something that our schemas will validate.
Sometimes we can forgive but from no present relationship. Second chances are powerful and life changing but they are dependent on how our schemas analyze the relationship. Schemas are not a mere defense mechanism to prevent us from getting hurt, they provide us with an opportunity to understand the illogical thought patterns we have. This process will take time, decoding your schemas with important people in your life past or present will aid in your self growth. Forgiveness is a multilayered, ever changing state we can achieve with others. For true forgiveness to occur, both parties must decode their schemas, redeem themselves and come to peace with their ghosts of the past, present and future.