Have you ever thought that forgiving someone meant accepting or condoning poor behavior?
Well you’re not alone, this is one of the most dangerous misconceptions about forgiveness out there and until five years ago I believed the very same thing. This misconception about the nature of forgiveness is particularly destructive because it undermines the strength of character that one must have in order to forgive and suggests that in fact weakness of character is akin to forgiveness, the exact opposite of reality!
In reality not once did I condone bullies behavior or think it was acceptable. I rather gained an appreciation of the life circumstances which led them to behave the way they did, behavior which I still believe to be appalling. Had I continued to believe that I would have had to accept or condone their behavior towards me in order to forgive them I probably never would have – and that is why it is essential that we appreciate that forgiveness in no way makes what the perpetrator has done to you ok.
Forgiveness is not about being passive. It is about taking back control of your life so that the past can no longer effect your present, it is about finding the strength to understand what upbringing, life experiences and environment has contributed to your perpetrators awful behavior and learning to heal and be at peace. It is about letting go of all the emotional turmoil that their behavior has created within you. Do not be deceived; to forgive is both courageous and strong.