This process guides you through five stages, whether you are doing the work as a victim (Radical Forgiveness) or a perpetrator (Radical Self-Forgiveness):
1. Telling the story: Whether we are a victim or a perpetrator of a wrongdoing, we will always have a story about what happened. Having all this pain and suffering witnessed is the first step in creating a space for forgiveness.
2. Feeling the feelings: Every perpetrator story has a bundle of emotions attached to it, and you can only heal what you can feel.
3. Collapsing the story: Allow the judging self to give way to the self-loving self, bringing heart-centred energy to the situation, opening to the possibility of being loved as you are.
4. Reframing the story: The first unique step of Radical Self-Forgiveness asks us to let go of the idea that something wrong happened and to see perfection.
5. Integrating the shift: Doing something of a physical nature – such as voice or breath work, or writing – replaces the old story and energy pattern with the new interpretation that everything is in perfect order.
The first three stages may be familiar to you, but it is the last two that mark the uniqueness of Radical Self-Forgiveness. They spring from a wholly different worldview and, in fact, make Radical Forgiveness more than mere forgiveness, self or otherwise; to experience it is to see the world quite differently and to open to a whole new way of looking at life.
A new paradigm, for reframing the story
Remember, the prevailing worldview is still largely anchored in victim consciousness, where life is a game of chance, and bygones are bygones. However, reframing our story invites us to expand and approach our habitual perpetrator story from radically different angles.
Consider this for example: I am a spiritual being having a human experience. By that I mean that I have chosen to come to Earth in order to learn lessons and evolve spiritually. I made agreements with souls prior to my incarnation that they would do things not so much to me, though it will feel that way while I am in a body, but for me. I also enrol others while I’m here to give me opportunities to learn. They look like my enemies, but I see them as my healing angels. That’s how I see forgiveness – that everything that happens invariably occurs for a spiritual purpose and that, while I remain accountable for what I do in the human world, in purely spiritual terms nothing wrong ever happens.
Now, if we make just a small change, this also becomes applicable to self-forgiveness: I made agreements with souls prior to my incarnation that I would do things not so much to other people, though it will feel that way while I am in a body, but for them. While I’m here, others will enrol me to give them opportunities to learn. I will look like their enemy, but they will come to see me as their healing angel.
This is an instant shift from a victim story to a perpetrator story, and while we often forgive others on the basis that they have come into our lives so we can learn and grow, at times we are called upon to play the role of the perpetrator in order to be of service to others. What has changed is the meaning and the context of the story, not the story itself. That puts an entirely different light on the apparent situation or event and enables us to move beyond merely letting bygones by bygones to opening to the possibility that nothing wrong happened and there is nothing to forgive. My wish for you is that you realize deep down that your Higher Self loves and supports you exactly as you are and recognizes you as the unique and wonderful human being that you are.
©2011 Colin Tipping, adapted from radicalforgiveness.com and Radical Self-Forgiveness, published by Sounds True.