There’s Nothing To Forgive

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 1 month ago

Dr Demartini shares why forgiveness may be a superficial cover-up for imbalanced perceptions that are stored inside you, and five questions that are wise to ask yourself to bring your perceptions, decisions and actions into balance.

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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 1 month ago

Today, I’d love to share and elaborate on what I have observed, learned and taught on the topic of forgiveness over the past four decades. My aim is to provide you with some food for thought and what may be a slightly different perspective on forgiveness than you maybe accustom to.

When you desire to forgive someone, you assume that they are acting in a challenging way that you perceive you don’t.

In other words, there tends to be a self-righteous projection onto them that what they’re doing, you don’t do or at least not equally quantitatively or qualitatively. As such, you may perceive that they need to apologize and/or you need to ‘forgive’ them.

In my mind, this perception is based on an artificial morality or moral hypocrisy that: What they did somehow has more drawbacks than benefits; and What they have done is something that you have not or never done equally quantitatively or qualitatively.

I’ve been teaching the

Today, I’d love to share and elaborate on what I have observed, learned and taught on the topic of forgiveness over the past four decades. My aim is to provide you with some food for thought and what may be a slightly different perspective on forgiveness than you maybe accustom to.

When you desire to forgive someone, you assume that they are acting in a challenging way that you perceive you don’t.

In other words, there tends to be a self-righteous projection onto them that what they’re doing, you don’t do or at least not equally quantitatively or qualitatively. As such, you may perceive that they need to apologize and/or you need to ‘forgive’ them.

In my mind, this perception is based on an artificial morality or moral hypocrisy that:

  • What they did somehow has more drawbacks than benefits; and
  • What they have done is something that you have not or never done equally quantitatively or qualitatively.

I’ve been teaching the Breakthrough Experience, my signature seminar program, for over 32 years. One of the exercises we do, extracted from a process I’ve developed called the Demartini Method, is to reflective and introspect and then fully own the traits, actions and inactions we’re judging in other people to the same degree quantitatively and qualitatively. And to date, I’ve yet to find a behavior that is judged in other people that we all individually haven’t done ourselves once we fully and honestly introspect.

At first, you may not believe it, but having taken over a hundred thousand people through the Demartini Method process, I am certain that  you only judge things and other people that represent a part of you that you’re internally judging.

  • If you RESENT something on the outside – it is consciously or unconsciously reminding you of something you feel ASHAMED of on the inside.
  • If you ADMIRE something on the outside – it’s consciously or unconsciously reminding you of something you’re PROUD of.
  • When you’re ashamed or proud, you are minimizing or exaggerating yourself and you’re not being your whole or authentic self.

Applying The Demartini Method to Dissolve Your Judgements

Consider using this series of questions extracted from The Demartini Method when faced with a situation where you perceive you “should forgive” a person:

QUESTION 1: Where and when have you displayed or demonstrated this exact same or similar trait, action, or inaction that you disliked or even despised? Where, when and who did you do it to, and who perceived you doing it?

The objective of this question is to help you own the trait, action, or inaction you’re judging so that you wake up your reflective awareness – where the seer, the seen and the seeing are the same.

Over 37 years ago I first identified within myself and then gradually documented that each human being displays evidence of each of the 4,628 human behavioural traits that I found listed in the Oxford dictionary. I painstakingly identified each of these within my own nature first and have then gone on to now shown this in over 100,000 attendees. I reflected honestly and discovered that I displayed each of the many potential behavioural traits, actions or inactions - nice, mean, kind, cruel, pleasant, unpleasant, peaceful combative, positive, negative, honest and dishonest, and so on. I was both hero and villain, saint and sinner, and could be considered both virtuous and vicious depending upon whether I was perceiving myself being supported or challenged.

So, it’s not a matter of  IF you’ve done what you perceive in others, but a matter of identifying WHERE, WHEN and WHO you’ve done it to, and  WHO  has perceived you were doing it.

If you then go on to stack up the memories of the moments where you’ve displayed this exact same or similar trait until it’s quantitatively and qualitatively equal to what you perceive they’ve done, you’re likely to find yourself going, “Well, who am I to judge them? Why do I need to say, ‘I forgive you when I’m doing the same thing?”

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You’ll keep attracting those traits, actions, or inactions that you try to forgive in others.

In other words, they push your buttons for a reason. You have a button on that behaviour because it’s something you’re consciously or unconsciously judging in yourself. I’m not interested in forgiving people, only to have the lesson come straight back into my life again to try and teach me how to love the parts of myself that I haven’t been loving and in turn love them.

Instead, the only time I use the word forgiveness is: “Thank you FOR-GIVING me this experience”. 

By going in and owning the trait, you tend to find that it softens the so-called need for forgiving.

QUESTION 2 : Go to the moment where and when you perceived them doing the behavior you think you need to forgive. Look at how, from the moment they did it until now, it SERVED you.

Quite often, you may tend to be blind to the benefits and upsides of behaviours and may choose instead to perceive it as being terrible. However, a few days, weeks, months, or years from now, you may look back and see the benefits or blessings that transpired as a result. So why have the wisdom of the ages with the aging process, when you can have the wisdom of the ages without it – by looking for the upsides within what you assumed only had downsides to balance the equation.

So, instead of jumping to the conclusion with a narrow-minded moral hypocrisy that it’s a “bad” thing because you assumed it challenged and humbled you, you can be liberated by finding out how it SERVED you.

In doing so, you are more able to reach a point where you no longer react to it because it no longer pushes your button. As such, you can be liberated from the imbalanced emotions surrounding it.

When you’re done, you’ll no longer have a need to say, “I forgive you”. Instead, you’ll be intrinsically driven to say, “Thank you!”.

I’d far rather say “Thank you for giving me this experience” than “I forgive you”. I’d rather find the hidden order and assume that there’s a message for me than assume that I’m an innocent victim and they’re the perpetrator. I don’t find that model productive.

A blame model doesn’t accomplish anything of lasting significance, in my opinion.

QUESTION 3 : Go to the moment when they displayed this trait, action, or inaction. If they had displayed the opposite trait, action or inaction – in other words, if it was the way you wished it was in that moment - what would have been the drawback to you from that moment until now?

With this question you can crack the fantasy about how they’re “supposed to have been” so you can appreciate what they actually did.

When you see the hidden order of the way that it was, you’ll find that the reason you’re judging them has little to do with their actions and more to do with your unrealistic fantasy about how they’re supposed to be. No human being is one-sided and none are designed to always live in our projected values.

  • The more you are addicted to praise, the more you will be hurt and angered by criticism.
  • The more you are addicted to support, the more you will be hurt and angered by challenges.

You may sometimes be immature in your outlook on life and hold onto a fantasy of a one-sided world instead of embracing the two sides of life, which you need to maximally grow. 

Maximum growth and development occur at the border of support and challenge– and for that matter all other pairs of opposites.

If you’re addicted to support, challenge hurts.

However, if you understand that you need both support and challenge to grow, the challenge tends not to hurt. There’s nothing there, except “thank you”.

I find that whenever I’m getting criticized, I needed a little humbleness since I am puffed up above equity or equilibrium. And whenever I’m being lifted or praised, it’s likely because I’m below equity or equilibrium.

I’m a firm believer that whatever’s going on in your life is trying to get you back to the center where you’re authentic. 

If you see life that way, you may find that you’re grateful for the events in your life instead of assuming that there’s a mistake in the universe.

Maybe there’s no mistake.

Perhaps when you project your values onto people and expect them to live in your values, you perceive that there are mistakes.

The people in your life are not here to live in your values, and you’re not here to hold onto unrealistic expectations or fantasies.

The actions and inactions of others will help you to break your fantasies.

When you’re building yourself up in pride, their actions will humble you to get you back to a place where you are authentic.

Being proud or shamed are facades and personas covering up the real you, but the real you is an authentic state of equanimity, grace and love.

When you are in that balanced, authentic and centered state, there’s nothing there to forgive but everything to be thankful for.

QUESTION 4 : Find out where and when this individual has displayed, both in the past and all the way up until the present, the OPPOSITE trait, action, or inaction in their life to the SAME individual they did the judged trait, action, or inaction to.

When you discover that this individual does not ALWAYS display this trait, action, or inaction, and that they in fact do equally both the thing you judge and it’s opposite, it’s at that point that you’ll realize that the one-sided labels you projected when you judged them were inaccurate, incomplete and subjectively biased.

Instead, you discover that when you do actions that SUPPORT their values, they behave one way. When you do actions that challenge their values, they act in the opposite way. In other words, they are just human beings with two sides, in the same way that you are.

As such, you may think, “Who am I to judge them and forgive them? Who am I to ask them to apologize to me?” As I said earlier:  What you forgive, you typically keep attracting since it is still your un-reflected button un-resolved.

Think of a husband who comes home late from work. Let’s say that he has a value on building his business and sustaining his income. Perhaps his wife has a value on making sure that the food is on the table and that the family can eat together around the table at the end of the day.

  • Asking the husband to apologize may indicate that she expects him to live in her values.
  • His apologizing may suggest that he is subordinating to her values.

Of course this scenario will generally continue as an unending series of repeated events.

Instead, it would be wise to respect each other, understand that the spouse made decisions based on their values. Anytime you would love for others to respect your values you are responsible for providing them with adequate advantages in advance within their own set of values to inspire them to do so.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation, be mindful of the fact no one is here to constantly live in your values. You’re not here to constantly live in their values. Projecting your values onto someone is likely to undermine the relationship and result in resentment and then the assumed traditional need for forgiveness and apology .

For this reason, I don’t believe in forgiving people for what I perceive they have “done” to me.

I’d rather be ACCOUNTABLE for my perceptions, realize that I’m drawing these things into my life as a LESSON, and be MINDFUL that they’re not responsible for how I feel.

They’re responsible for what they did, but not how I feel.

QUESTION 5   What could you be doing that could initiate that reaction from them?

I remember a woman once telling me that she couldn’t get her daughter to stop lying to her. Apparently, the daughter would be truthful with her husband but not with her.

After a brief discussion, I suggested that she might be wise to look at her reaction when her daughter told her the truth.

People do things based on what they think will give them the greatest advantage over disadvantage at any moment in time.

If her daughter perceived that her mother would have an extreme emotional reaction to the truth, she may perceive that it would be easier or better to tell a lie.

Therefore, it is wise to introspect and look at anything you may be doing that may initiate a specific action or inaction in them. That way you don’t feel like a victim of their reaction, you become a master of your perception as you gain the power of ‘governmentis’ (governance of your own mind and emotions).

Being reflective and balancing your mind where in turn you are governing your emotions because you’re seeing both sides is where your greatest resilience and adaptability occurs.

It’s also where you release yourself from living emotionally in hindsight, or subcortical thinking and unwisely assume that there are things to forgive.

“To accuse others for one’s own misfortune is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one's education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete.”

                                                                        Epictetus

It’s where you move from di-stress and reaction from the things you are judging to objectivity and wellness promoting eustress.

It’s where foresight expands your vision and births a clear strategy and enthusiasm to achieve it.

It’s where you see everything as ‘on the way’ and no matter where you look in your life, all you see is a lot to be grateful for.

And that’s to your advantage because to those who are grateful, more is given.

In conclusion:

  • If you have a value on mastering your life, it is wise to be accountable about reflectively owning your PERCEPTIONS, DECISIONS and ACTIONS.
  • Anything you CAN’T say “thank you” for is BAGGAGE; anything you CAN say thank you for is FUEL.
  • Every time you JUDGE something, you store that experience in your subconscious mind. As such, you are likely to weigh yourself down with things that tend to keep running your life until you finally liberate yourself by appreciating and loving them.
  • Whenever you are in a state of gratitude, you store that experience in your superconscious mind, which is lighter and more expanding.
  • The quality of your life is based on the quality of the questions you ask. If you ask more reflective questions that help you balance your perceptions, there nothing there to forgive and nothing to apologize for.

Forgiveness of others is a superficial cover-up for what’s really still deeply stored inside you.

Instead, it is wiser to work through the questions I’ve outlined above or possibly invest some quality time in coming to the Breakthrough Experience where my team and I can help you work through the events in your life, so you can say, “Thank you” instead of carrying them around as baggage and thinking there is or was something to forgive.

You deserve to live an amazing life and the magnificence of your life is only obscured to you if you impose a fantasy onto your life of they way you think it ‘should’ be instead of learning how to see the magnificence of the way it is.

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There’s Nothing To Forgive

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