Is Forgiving more than Letting Go and Moving on?
After having my flat broken into, illegally terminated and betrayed by a friend, I just have so much emotional baggage. For years now, I have harbored so much hate for people who have wronged me. While I know that I should not allow the hate to get the best of me, I could not help myself.
I often sat with a cigarette in my hand, going over and over the times when I was victimized. With my dark thoughts. I wanted to hurt them back for hurting me. I wanted to make them suffer and wished them ill. In my mind, I was happy to see them miserable, in pain or dying. No amount of swear word “Pu-t-n-i-a-mo!” can undo what happened (“Pu-t-n-i-a-mo" used in the same manner as, "f--k you" in English).
I realized I was making things worse. My hate was eating me up and was fast becoming a negative person, a loser. I had to stop this. With the support of real friends, I resolved to choose not to hate. It was tough at the start. Through self-discipline and being mindful I learned to forgive. One by one I wrote down the pain and anger I felt. Alongside each journal entry, I also wrote down what I learned. I kept my focus on the silver lining. Slowly, something in me lifted. I realized the anger became my prison, a trap I made from which only I can escape when I decide to do so.
Soon, I noticed changes in me. I was less irritable. I was smiling more, and there was a lightness of being that I could not explain. Definitely, I was sleeping better. My relationships with my family and friends also improved. I was even losing weight and had fewer skin breakouts. Overall, I was happy. I know I have the right to be angry at people who wronged me. But I reminded myself that I owe it to myself to find peace. And that wonderful feeling only comes when we forgive.
Finding the strength to forgive those who have wronged and took advantage of us is nearly impossible.
But here are some thoughts I’d like to share that made the difference for me to take that leap of forgiveness.
Healing starts with forgiving
Deciding to forgive does not take away the pain and anger you feel. But choosing to forgive is one step towards healing emotionally. Forgiving others also means you allow yourself to also forgive yourself. You are now ready to accept that you have done everything that you possibly can. People have hurt you and that is beyond your control. But you can choose how you react.
You can choose to let go and forgive. You can choose not to let hatred rule you. You can choose not to do things, which you may regret in the future. If you choose to end ties with those who betrayed you, go ahead and do so and allow yourself to heal.
Misery loves company
The negative emotions that come from hating are likely to change your disposition. As your personality changes, so do your habits and your attitude. And all these do affect your relationships, at work, in school, with your family and your friends. The people who love you don’t deserve to be on the receiving end of your pent-up anger and pain.
Don’t forget the Life Lessons
There are lessons to be learned from unfortunate events and negative experiences. Being aware of these lessons will help us avoid similar situations later in life. More importantly, we learn not to allow those who had hurt us repeat the same wrongdoing. They may never apologize and so let it be, but we can choose to be generous and accept that apology that never was.
No matter how we live our lives, whether we like it or not, people will enter our lives and test our patience. We choose to be forgiving so we can be free from hate and instead gain peace of mind.
It took me a long time to get to this but it sure is worthwhile. :)