Quote from The Crown of Gilded Bone by Jennifer Armentrout
In her book, The Crown of Gilded Bone, Jennifer Armentrout says, “I think too much value is given to forgiveness when it’s easier to forgive but far harder to forget. That understanding and acceptance is far more important than forgiving someone.”
This quote might be a bit controversial, but I think it highlights something important. It speaks to a form of toxic positivity.
Sometimes I see and my clients report to me a pressure to forgive and move on, and to do so quicky.
There is nothing wrong with doing the hard work to forgive. But there seems to be a pressure to do a surface only level of forgiveness so that the person can move on and not have to face the hurt, anger and pain that often comes before true forgiveness is possible.
If we don’t sit in those uncomfortable feelings to truly face and accept what happened, then that forgiveness is not solid.
I find that often in trauma work, when we are dealing with attachment wounds, that full realization (on a deep, cellular and somatic level) of what the person went through takes time and comes in layers.
Someone may know that they were an unhappy kid, and then comes the realization that they had a reason to be unhappy, and that this reason is that their parents caused harm, and then they realize just how much that harm has affected and continues to affect their lives.
Each of those is a layer of realization that requires understanding and acceptance. It is a process and simply saying “I forgive my parents” does not circumvent the need for this process of understanding and acceptance.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to forgive those who have hurt you, but it is a process. And it is not something that should be pushed on you. It is also NOT REQUIRED to heal. You do not need to forgive in order to move on, or to be a good person. It does not make you negative or bad.