Ray: Marianne, what about the essential role of forgiveness in releasing the past? In The Age of Miracles, you write, “We can have a grievance or we can have a miracle, but we cannot have both.” But I think we sometimes forgive ourselves a little too quickly, before we’ve really dealt with something in a deep and serious way.
Marianne: I think that’s true. I think we’re too easy on ourselves.
The standard line is that we’re too hard on ourselves, but sometimes we’re too easy. That’s why I talk about healthy shame.
Forgiving others is part of the process, too, of course, and there are people who cannot get off the fact that twenty years ago their husband or their wife left them. Well, who’s the real enemy—the person who left you twenty years ago or the force within yourself that’s let twenty years go by and still hasn’t gotten over it?
Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it’s imperative. It’s imperative in order to emerge into a revitalized next chapter of life.
Ray: So, forgive and forget?
Marianne: You don’t forget the lesson. But you realize that coddling the wound does not serve you.
Unforgiveness has an emotional density that stays with you. So, ultimately, real forgiveness is where, on a certain level, you do forget.