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Father, forgive me, for I don’t know (yet) what I do.
This statement is an altered version of one initially spoken by Jesus, where he asks God to forgive the people at the time of his crucifixion. Jesus recognised several aspects of the situation—many we play out in our daily lives. If you haven’t considered the scenario or don’t know it, please let me put things into context.
Jesus was aware of his fate. He knew he would be betrayed by his close circle, tried by the government and jury, sentenced for blasphemy, and accused of pretending to be greater than the king, and for this, killed. Knowing what was to come would have been torture in its own right, would it not?
However, Jesus used his wisdom to see beyond the event. Beyond his human need to avoid pain, to challenge the wrongness of the pre-ordained event. He even pleaded with God to “pass the cup” (of suffering) by him—he was asking for release from his coming death. Immediately after, though, he surrendered to his life purpose and fate.
What does this story have with us today? This is my take:
I propose that our life purpose is to unlearn our limitations and come back to pure love with self-compassion, empathy, curiosity, and learning.
Let’s put this into perspective.
All of us are doing the best we can, with the resources we have, to respond to the challenges presented to us.
From a generational standpoint, our parents didn’t have it “right,” and their parents didn’t have it “right,” so how can we expect ourselves to have it “right?” Support was not available to them—for their ignorance, for their lack of skill, knowledge, resources, or awareness—so they simply could not teach us anything different. Therefore, we are, in many ways, as ignorant as our parents, minus the bits we have learnt so far on our journey.
We don’t know what we don’t know.
If we are unaware that there could be other, better ways of thinking, feeling, and living, how can we create anything different for ourselves?
Further, we may be scared of new possibilities—the ideas are foreign, or we don’t think it is for us, or we believe we are not worthy of having something better.
Suppose our autopilot, our “rules”—from deeply ingrained beliefs, stories, and lies—dictate how we should live, reinforced by the people and places we associate with. In that case, change can feel like death itself. Being part of something, being accepted, is an innate, animalistic need and driver. The “If I am kicked out of the tribe, I will experience certain death” fear is real. Before the farming revolution, with its numerous villages and towns, people living out of a tribe were at greater risk of starvation and death.
When we haven’t yet learnt how to think differently, how can we be anything but what we have always been?
Our society and culture tells us that we are meant to have it all together. We are meant to know exactly what, how, and when to say, do, and be in every situation. We must not get it wrong, we must not say things out of place, and we must place our consideration of others ahead of ourselves—even when we are struggling to keep ourselves together. This unfair expectation is like asking a primary school student to perform university-level maths!
Think about this for a second longer:
Emotional intelligence is not taught in most schools. Many children are still living in abusive, ineffective, or dysfunctional families. Trauma and limiting beliefs about what they can and should do, and what is available for them, is still the main script for children.
When children do not learn how to relate, how to self-regulate, and what it feels like to be loved and nurtured, how can they, as adults, automatically be well-adjusted?
Consider, too, that emotional intelligence, trauma awareness, and dysfunctional family dynamics are only now starting to be spoken about—in small healing communities, limited to pockets of people who are open to the possibility of something different. This means there will surely be several more generations of compromised children growing into compromised adults.
No one is to blame. It is the way of the system, hence the quote: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
The solution I propose is this:
Give yourself and others more compassion. We are all in a learning zone—if we choose to expand our knowledge of how our inner world operates so we can create a different reality, and, therefore, our way of living.
>> We forgave ourselves for not having it all together?
>> We gave ourselves and others the space and time to learn, grow, and practice emotional intelligence and self-awareness?
>> We encouraged and celebrated the baby steps of growth?
>> We removed the expectation to leap ahead in massive growth spurts of self-awareness, interrelating skills, and choices?
>> We learnt about and healed our childhood and generational wounds—the ones restricting us from living in a space of love, acceptance, support, nurturing, and care for ourselves and others?
>> We loved ourselves more, making it is easier to open our hearts to others? To love, to give support, compassion, and encouragement, and above all, to see beyond the masks they are wearing to protect themselves from more pain?
Life is a journey, a process of experiencing, healing, letting go, and calling in more love and divinity. There are detours, mountains, valleys, roundabouts, and opportunities. Each experience asks us to practice, to let go of heavy emotional baggage such as insecurity, inadequacy, limiting beliefs, fears, rejection, abandonment, and feeling like we are not enough. When we do this, we travel easier and lighter. There is no more treading water, and we don’t drown under the weight of the past.
It is possible.
Growth starts with a thought and is followed by enquiry. Add learning, healing, letting go, and transforming yourself into who you choose to be, and you will find more love, grace, and humility in your life.