We are still considering courage and we have been looking at the question: Can I forgive others?
When we perceive that we have been slighted, or insulted, or otherwise treated shabbily by those around us, it takes a form of moral courage to stare down the inner voice of Righteous Avenger.
Forgiveness is the sovereign remedy to this kind of misery. It can take the form of the strenuous effort to turn the other cheek, and let go of your anger at the offending party. The hurt can hang around, but we have made a genuine effort to move on.
At another level it is the effort to step into the other’s shoes, to understand how they feel, and to acknowledge that the vast majority of perceived insults and attacks are unintended, or the momentary lapse of a usually well-meaning friend. At this level we can Forgive them, for they know not what they do .
The highest level of forgiveness is where there is never anything to forgive. At this level we take full responsibility for our own feelings and reactions. No one can make us angry unless we agree to let them, no one can irritate us unless we choose to allow it to happen. As Lester Levenson used to say: What you think about me, is none of my business.
Here lies independence, strength, autonomy and complete freedom. It is not necessarily easy to achieve this state. But a good first step is to acknowledge that it is possible, and attainable through courageous effort.