Some actions may not be forgivable, but all actors are

Palmer, the writer, educator and activist, delivered an inspiring graduation address about the pillars of living with wholeheartedness. His theory was:

Violence happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering. 

It’s a profoundly kind and compassionate way of viewing such a dark issue. 

It reminds me of our high school bully. Growing up, he made my life miserable, both physically and emotionally. It took me decades to even begin to forgive him. 

But that was twenty years ago. Long before I had the ability to properly use any of my emotional equipment. 

Now that I’m older and a bit more textured and my heart has been fucked open a few dozen times, my perspective has evolved.

As an adult, I can look back on those experience and understand that the violence wasn’t the bully’s fault. He simply had nowhere to put his suffering. 

And so, all of his responses behaviors, torturous as they might have been at the time, in his head, was reasonable and logical based on his personal history. 

Which doesn’t legitimize the pain he inflicted upon me. But it does allow me to step into his shoes for a moment and have some compassion for what he was going through. 

Why was the guy so angry? Who hurt him first and rewired his brain? What was the traumatic event that set him on that violent trajectory? 

It’s no wonder it’s so difficult to legislate bullying. It’s really just a huge cry for help. 

If you’re having a hard time forgiving somebody who used to make your life a living hell, remember one thing. 

Violence comes from pain. But most of the pain people are experiencing has nothing to do with the present situation.


Whom have you still not forgiven?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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