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Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Art of Forgiveness

It's been said that in order to be of healthy mind, body and soul, we must first let go of all that is standing in our way.  This includes forgiving all those that have in some way or another, hurt us.  And while I agree that yes, we must forgive in order to have a shot at a normal life,  if we don't forgive ourselves, then everything else, remains the same.  I don't know about you, but I struggle with forgiveness sometimes.  It's easier said than done.  But it is doable.  I was reflecting on my life over the weekend and how I've done thus far and how far I have come and how far I have yet to go.  And I realized that had it not been for me being able to forgive myself, that even if I had forgiven all those people/circumstances that wronged me, I would be a total mess right now. (more than I already am)  And that's a huge deal for me.  The hardest thing about forgiveness though, is that sometimes the ones you love the most, are the very ones that inflict the most pain.  That can be in the form of a family member, a spouse, a significant other, a friend.  Some people are just not able to forgive.  They hold grudges.  They remain angry.  And soon, their anger and negativity starts to trickle down to those around them.  I know someone that is harboring ill will towards their loved ones, and this person will not budge, will not be the bigger person, will not just forgive them and move on.  I'm fairly close to this person, someone I care for very much, but their unrelenting and unforgiving anger, is taking a toll on our friendship.  I simple do not want to be around it.  Is that wrong?  I have talked to them and given them advice and suggestions as to how to go about extending an olive branch to their loved ones.  But it all falls on deaf ears.  So what do I do?  Remain the ever supportive friend? Or bail on them?  Well I didn't actually bail on them.  I mean, I'm still very much their friend, I'm just not as available to them as I normally would be.  While some reading this may think it's a selfish move on my part, I don't.  You know, life is so short to be wasting energy and time on something that just needs to stop.  It just does.  If I continue to stand by this person's side, I will spiral down the same path.  Their anger and bitterness is a like a double edged sword, draining and contagious.  It took me a very long time, years actually, not to mention countless and countless sessions with a therapist, to forgive the person that molested me. But it took me even longer, to forgive myself.  I realized that if I kept the wounds open, they'd be susceptible to more pain.  So I closed them.  I wanted to move forward, to live my life and not carry all of the anger and bitterness that was beginning to consume me.  I was lucky, not everyone can get to that point.  Take my friend for instance, they are quickly isolating themselves from those that care for them the most.  But as many have told me, I can talk the talk and walk the walk and give them all the advice in the world, but until they are ready to let go, nothing I say or do will make a difference.

What about you? Is it easy to forgive?

I've done my share of hurting others over the years and though my actions may not have been intentional, they were hurtful.  It's not something that I'm proud of.  But I would be a hypocrite, if I didn't acknowledge this little fact about myself.  Some of those people that I hurt are no longer in my life, and yet, some still are.  It was not a good thing for my ego, when I realized that I'd been "shunned" from certain people's lives, but I got why they did it.  You see, we can forgive, but that doesn't mean you get to remain in our lives.  And I learned that the hard way.  Was it a bitter pill to swallow? Of course it was.  But in the end, I understood why it was done.  I hope my friend, realizes this, before it's too late.

19 comments:

Don said...

Hon, in my nearly 80 years here on earth I've failed to learn many things, but one thing that I DID learn is that "forgiving" is an art, and that by forgiving it frees one's soul.

Carrying a grudge is a heavy load that we need not bear if we choose to drop it.

Those who choose to forgive, forget, and get on with life are made happier by their choice.

David Batista said...

I know exactly the type of person you're describing -- someone who's unwilling to forgive, even though it's ruining their lives and well-being.

I tend to forgive, but never forget. I can never forget a slight. But I can forgive. And that last part is what keeps me happy and a general optimist in life. It's too short, life is, to spend most of it bitterly reliving something that happened in the past. Forgiving doesn't make you a sucker, or let the other person get off scott free. That other person needs to redeem themselves as well, sure.

But ultimately forgiveness will have to come on your friend's part if they are to move on with their lives. That I agree with you completely, Yvonne.

Yvonne said...

Gentlemen- I appreciate your comments and agree with what you said. I don't forgiving someone as a sign of weakness, rather I see it as a sign of strength. We are bigger than the pettiness that can consume us.

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Forgiveness is such a touchy thing. There is a time and a place for it. We can either be lost in making the same mistakes over and over by wanting desperately to be open and forgiving. And yet there is always the truth that forgiving is good for the soul. It is all in how forgiving is executed and what we expect when we do it. Expect nothing and know that the person who trespassed upon you might never be able be so fair with you and you're golden. It really is about how you deal with the situation and allowing yourself to accept it and move on.

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