Forgiveness of Others
We all have someone or some people to forgive for something. You maybe have a parent to forgive or a co-worker, or a spouse, or the pizza delivery guy. One way or another, we don’t get through this life without being offended or hurt by someone and are left with a festering pain that needs to be let go of. We are here on the planet to learn this lesson, which is a major component of love.
Even if you are not religious or spiritual, you surely notice the difference between holding onto resentment and vengeance or letting things go. One is heavy and occupies your time in useless ways and the other is light and easy when you are in the swing of it.
Nelson Mandela and a bunch of other people have quoted an idea of unknown origin that goes something like this, “Holding on to resentment is like taking poison and hoping that the other guy will die.” We do spend so much energy considering offences committed against us, thinking about the injustice and wondering about ways to reverse the offence or put it back on the other guy.
We do make ourselves sick and waste massive amounts of our lives on these situations. In my own family and that of my Ex spouse, I have seen relatives not talk to each other for years over very small things, sometimes large hurtful things. This lack of ability to let go for such a long time is a great loss of opportunity to grow.
God knows what’s in our hearts and wants our progress. From the spiritual point of view, accepting that the ones who cause us harm just don’t know what they are doing is one of the highest forms of love and charity. Trusting that God will handle the offenders, with the same equanimity with which he handled us when we had to learn the same lessons, can be a great consolation, if we allow it to be, inside our souls.
If you are not spiritual, well, maybe you have learned that it is a lighter and more beautiful way to live inside yourself if you can let go of the little and larger things that others do that cause us pain in some way. Maybe you know that letting things roll off your back is a terrific way to let the offenders carry the burden instead of you. Maybe it even lets you find space inside yourself to wish them well, because they certainly need it in a world full of negativity and challenge to live a peaceful, morally upright existence.
Not an easy thing to do
Letting go of offences can be very difficult for many of us. Maybe someone got in the way of your love with another, or snubbed you unscrupulously on the way to a job promotion, or maybe made a comment about you that hurt your terribly. Life is full of these situations, and we are here to go deeper and learn to look past them. However, again, this is definitely one of the biggest challenges in life for most of us.
Personally, I have at least one major forgiveness project to do in my life, and I suck at it, but slowly, slowly I will vanquish this task. For now I try to focus on Daughter when I have her, focus on starting the path of inspirational survival all over again in a new country, and ask God for help letting go.
Why Forgive and How Do We Do It?
When we pardon others we let go of the weight that can cause untold physical and mental anguish. When we choose not to hold grudges, our mind and body are freer for the beauty that is available in life for us.
Another aspect of forgiveness is consciously staying aware that we also cause harm to others whether we intend it or not. Our willingness to excuse or let go of offenses is usually directly proportional to the amount of forgiveness that we receive.
To be honest, my Christian Spiritist studies don’t tell me HOW to forgive, only that I MUST. From what I can gather, forgiveness takes time, even with conscious intention.
Things that may help one on the road to letting go:
- A meditation or concentration practice
- Pray to God for help as often as we can remember to
- Talking to friends about our grief or anger
- Help others – get outside of your story and into the stories of others
- Do things you love and with time resentment will shift
This particular topic is incredibly difficult to write about and very complicated for many to contemplate. If you have suggestions on forgiveness, please leave comments and ideas, as this subject will likely always need more thought…
Ultimately pardoning others is in everyone’s best interest, whether it feels like it or not. Living free from resentment and feelings of vengeance and hurt is the lighter and happier way to go. Life is short, and beauty hard to find and hold on to.
So let’s take a deep breath and dive back in, letting the ones who have hurt us stay standing on the shore, while we feel the cool water cleansing us, and the muscles of our arms and legs cutting through the water, moving us forward, reveling in the moment.