Forgiveness and Compassion

Today is Yom Kippur for the Jewish community, the day of atonement, the highest Jewish holiday. Interestingly it made me think about the concept of forgiveness which is discussed with great diversity, not only  in the therapeutic world. These thoughts came up: Forgiveness could be an act to make me feel superior to the other: “Oh, I am so good, I forgive you for your bad actions towards me”. But that is not real forgiveness, because it only puts the other down and yourself up. Real forgiveness is acknowledging the hurt, the pain, the damage that has been committed, allowing all the feelings that are there, express them as much as they need to be expressed, until you are able to let them go. It also includes to leave the guilt with the perpetrator, and the perpetrator taking the guilt fully and responsibly. And then letting it go, allowing the past to be the past and start all over again in the present. This certainly is not an easy approach, and it takes a very courageous attitude, to live life in every moment, be in the present, encounter every moment in the here and now, with an open heart, which is what compassion is all about. Am I willing to live my life with this mindset? My answer is yes. What is yours?