in·no·cence

ˈinəsəns/
noun
  1. the state, quality, or fact of being innocent of a crime or offense.
  2. lack of guile or corruption; purity.

This word is very valuable to me. In fact it is one of my five values that is most dear to me in my life. I believe it is so important for us to try and see the childlike innocence in everyone around us because to me innocence equals wholeness.

Innocence = Wholeness

This means, when you recognize someone’s innocence, you acknowledge their wholeness.

I had to practice this with someone close to me just today. I hadn’t seen this person for 3 years and we had barely communicated but it was time for both of us to move on and forgive the past. As awkward as it was in the beginning, it didn’t stop us from meeting up at the most neutral place I could think of, Square One mall (the largest in Canada) and head over to a chic restaurant in there to sit for nearly 4 hours, sitting through 3 different waitress’s shifts, and make up for lost time.

The biggest lesson I learnt today? And from the last 3 years of our separation? It was all about innocence and seeing the innocence in the other person. Let me explain the concept of innocence and wholeness here.

Take a newborn baby for example. A baby comes into the world as whole and complete as a human could possibly be. They are completely innocent. As my mum says, they are like white paper. Spotless and without any markings on them.

So, my meeting today and this concept of innocence got me thinking, when we look as other people around us as innocent, we acknowledge that they are also whole and complete at some level. No matter what mistake they appear to have made on the surface, a part of them is still a child and is still innocent.

It’s difficult to apply this concept to someone older than you and especially to your parents, but let me give it a try.

Seeing your parents as innocent despite their mistakes

It isn’t easy to think your parents are completely good and innocent. Afterall, isn’t it their fault that you are the way that you are? If they hadn’t told you to study medicine, maybe you wouldn’t be a doctor today and you’d be a writer instead. If they hadn’t told you that you could make a great living as an artist, then maybe you would have gone into a traditional career and have a stable income and life by now. If they had or hadn’t… then you would or wouldn’t.

It’s easy to play the if-then game, especially when it comes to people who have shaped your life so deeply.

But what if I challenged you to see your parents as children? What if I asked you to pretend that your parents are also kids who are just trying to figure it out? They are innocent too, just like you. Would you be able to forgive them for whatever mistakes they have made, which affected your life?

How to forgive your parents

The first step to forgiving your parents for whatever they have done that has hurt you is to see their innocence. No need to look back at old photos of when they were younger, that wont help. Look at them as they are now. When you are with them, see them as little kids. Decipher their smiles and laughter as the giggles of children. If you look closely, you’ll see the similarity.

That’s the only step I can honestly share right now because that’s the only one I have consciously tried and it seems to work really well right now. Most of us have some form of parental issue and I’m no exception to this, so yes, I’m dealing with healing my relationship with my parents and making it more respectful, loving and more caring. The fact that I meditate now and so do both my parents (in some way or another, and usually different styles of meditation to what I practice) probably helps too.

When you meditate, sometimes if you are lucky, you will have these cool little experiences like goosebumps or butterflies in your stomach or your heart will flutter. You may even get a sensation that you are much larger than your body and those moments are humbling. They make you realize that you are powerful enough to transcend whatever your parents “did to you” to screw you up. It also gives you a hint of their greatness. Surely, they must be much more whole than the part of them that has done something which hurt you.

So that’s my advice: see your parent as an innocent child. See their smile as a goofy excited grin on a kid’s face. How can you stay mad at a child?

With my love,

Ritu

Ps. Follow me on Instagram to see candid pics of my parents looks like kids, and sometimes me kidding around too.

Image source: Gratisography

Author: Ritu

Ritu is an Atma Kriya Yoga and meditation teacher. A long time blogger and writer, she writes about personal development, spirituality, and meditation.

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2 thoughts on “Seeing the innocence in older people and how to forgive your parents

  1. As a child of an alcoholic (ACA), I was carrying around a lot of anger/resentments towards my father. 46 years later, I took him to a park and let him read my journal about my childhood. I didn’t get the apology I expected, but I found acceptance & forgiveness & I hugged my father and I told him I loved him.

    Posted on May 24, 2015 at 11:15 am
    1. This is so beautiful. I wish I could share my whole story with my dad here. I know that your “i love you” to your dad is the biggest thing that will set him free. I believe that. Thanks for being strong enough to do that. much love, Ritu

      Posted on June 18, 2015 at 11:21 pm