It goes without saying that the shooting at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado was a horrific event. I cannot comprehend what the families of the victims are going through right now. But within this terrible event there is a lesson to be learned. The lesson of forgiveness.
I discovered a good article on this when I was looking around the net. It was written by the author of “Emotional Freedom”. She included some points which I thought were particularly helpful to develop the ability to forgive others.
- Identify one person you’re angry with. Start with someone low on your list, not your rage-aholic father. Then you can get a taste of forgiveness quickly. After that you can proceed to tackle more challenging targets.
- Honestly address your feelings. Talk to friends, your therapist, or other supportive people, but get the anger out. I also recommend writing your feelings down in a journal to purge negativity. Then, decide whether you want to raise the issue with someone.
- Begin to forgive. Hold the person you’re angry with clearly in your mind. Then ask yourself, “What emotional shortcomings caused him or her to treat me poorly?” This is what you want to have compassion for, the area to forgive. Definitely, don’t subject yourself to shabby treatment, but reach for compassion for the person’s emotional blindness or cold heart.
I don’t know why the shooter did what he did. But I do know that forgiveness allows us to rise above terrible situations while retaining our dignity and humanity. I would argue that this is paramount to our survival as a species. As Gandhi said:
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”
I have often noticed how many people think that to forgive also means to be a doormat for others, or that forgiveness means weakness. This is not true. In fact, forgiveness is strength. It takes a lot of inner personal discipline to transform hatred to positive feelings. I would even say that the weaker path is to give into emotions like hatred that are so readily available and easy to access. Allowing them to control your actions is tantamount to being a slave.
Inspiring video below. Check it out.