To judge, we need categories. To forgive, we have to go beyond our categories, we have to examine the reality of what happened through somebody else’s categories. But we like our categories! We don’t like to revise them, let alone looking at the world through somebody else’s lens (categories, perspective). Plus, our categories tend to be polarized (thanks to dichotomous, all-or-nothing, black-and-white thinking of ours). Thus, our inability to forgive is based on ignoring what is in favor of what should be.
Put differently, inability to forgive is insistence that whatever is shouldn’t be. Furthermore, inability to forgive is the inability to accept that our shoulds aren’t everyone else’s shoulds.
Fact is everyone has their own shoulds. Often times, we are appalled by how unapologetic somebody else might feel after they have – in our opinion – trespassed on our wellbeing. As we reel from their offensiveness, we find it particularly unforgiveable that they are not sorry. In order to be able to forgive the offending party’s lack of remorse, we have to once again examine the situation from their perspective. We have to walk away from our shoulds and examine the shoulds that pre-determined their thinking and their course of action.
When we are able to understand where they are coming from, we are in a better place to identify with them. We can then think: “Well, if I were like you, I’d be then thinking the way you were thinking, and then I’d do what you did. Seeing your “software,” your worldview, knowing the shoulds that guide your reflexes, I can now relate to what you did. I can see how what I see as an unforgivable imperfection you saw as a perfectly normal course of action. This makes all the difference!”