Life Through The Lens Of Radical Forgiveness

forgiveness | Dianna Bonny Photography

Forgiveness and gratitude are having their moment in the spotlight these days. I hear the words almost daily either via emails, social media or conversations. They remind me of a few years ago when authenticity had its day in the sun. Not to sound cynical or anything, I just think we have to be careful about flying these word flags without truly taking the time to define them for ourselves.

Lest the become weapons we turn against ourselves, and others, and we have enough of those already.

I have been asked many times if I have forgiven my husband for what he did. Sometimes it is a loaded question. I have the sense that my answer is going to tell the person a lot about me, though I’m not exactly sure what that might be. Other times, blessedly, it is tinged with a sense of wonder and curiosity. “How,” they want to know, how do we work our way to forgiveness.

Finding forgiveness is a part of the journey no doubt, for ourselves, and for those who have done things that in some way have changed our lives or shattered our heart. I think the very first step, the necessary primer coat to the painted wall, is self-forgiveness, because without creating space for this energy within ourselves, how can we expect to hold it for others?

And the next step is exploration, or forgiveness will be another one of those things we feel we have to do, a dreaded “should,” but the act never holds any true meaning in our heart.

I have a friend whose husband had an affair and every so often she spits out the phrase, “We’ve moved on. I’ve forgiven him.” It comes out in the same way she might talk about an unpleasant odor. Her “forgiveness” is wrapped like a chain around his neck, invisibly placed between them and keeping things (i.e. his good behavior) in place.

This brand of forgiveness seems like a power trip with an agenda to me.

Of the different schools of forgiveness thought, the one I have squirmed around the most is the idea of “Radical Forgiveness.” The underlying concept is this: there is simply nothing to forgive, because everything is happening for the betterment of your soul. When someone first mentioned it to me, I scrunched my face. I felt the idea land in my body like a punch. I wasn’t quite ready to hear the idea.

Nothing to forgive.

What I like about the idea is that we spend so much of our time not being where we need to be, which is right here in the present moment. We are stuck in the past ruminating, reliving and suffering. Conversations and scenes play over and over about right and wrong, injustice and “only if.”

What if radical forgiveness offers a way to live lighter, without all the heavy armor?

I am trying this on in my mind but I do get stuck. I admit, I get stuck. While I am beginning to make sense of the things that have happened in my own life through the lens of Radical Forgiveness, in other spaces I cannot. When I watch movies like Virunga (which is amazing – I highly recommend it) I can’t make sense of the extreme injustices playing out as a result of greed, that end up in innocent victims, both human and animal, being harmed. I get really stuck when I see people dying in the wake of senseless bullying, police brutality or violent, repeat child abusers.

What about you. Can you see your life through the lens of radical forgiveness? Have you put it into place and found yourself to be better off living by this perspective? I would love to hear your story.

As always, sending love and light.


Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

  3 comments for “Life Through The Lens Of Radical Forgiveness

  1. March 20, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I have found that forgiveness is something you do that has to be visited again. Maybe because the memories die a slow death. And maybe they don’t die at all, but when you remember the sting is gone. I forgave my Dad on his deathbed. Even made the story public today on Crosswalk. But there are still times I have to forgive him again for new memories that happen. Did the first time not take? Yes, it took, but there are layers and life is a process.

    I agree that forgiving yourself is the hardest one. We know us.

  2. March 20, 2015 at 8:03 am

    For me, forgiveness has become a practice. Something I breathe into. Something I do incompletely, and imperfectly, and that’s OK because I’ll be trying again, and again, and again.

    I have touched “radical forgiveness” in some areas…and not in others. Sometimes, I find that I focus more on appreciation than forgiveness. Through finding a way or ways I can appreciate someone who has wounded me, the need to see them as an “other” diminishes and forgiveness in some measure comes organically. And, it’s the same for myself. When I can appreciate myself, forgiving myself follows more naturally.

  3. Rene
    March 20, 2015 at 9:30 am

    This has come up as a theme for me this week Diana. Just a few days ago, someone sent me this quote by Lily Tomlin: “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” It’s had me thinking, and your post has me thinking too. It’s a complicated, layered process, but distilling forgiveness down to its essential components, simplifying it, is what’s speaking to me now. Thank you for the blog post.

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