Forgiveness: the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven
Forgiveness brings with it a calm, acceptance that what is done, is done and it no longer has a hold over you, the FREEDOM that it brings with it clears the path to a future filled with a renewed sense of optimism and hope.
Yet it is one of the most difficult states of mind to achieve as generally speaking we tend to hang onto past hurt or perceived wrongs against us. We hold onto feelings of angst and betrayal when we think of how we’ve suffered at the hands of others and on occasion if we’re brutally honest with ourselves we use these negative feelings and reactions to feed our sense of wounded indignity as we succumb to being or becoming a ”victim” of the circumstances which made us feel this way in the first place.
It’s a perfectly natural reaction to assume the demeanor of an injured party when someone has ”wronged” us in some way or we’ve ”fallen foul” of a situation over which we had no control. Very often after we’ve had time to reflect and in the cold light of day the majority of us with a little thought and maybe gentle prompting can usually come to see things more clearly and accept that at the very least there were reasons (not excuses mind) for what had gone before. Having said that the stark reality is we are all of us human and as such are realistically far more inclined to take our initial knee jerk adverse reaction and run with it allowing it to gain momentum over time and before we know it we are unable to move on, over or past this ”thing” which has wounded us so. In essence we become stuck.
In my life so far I’ve come very slowly BUT very surely to learn and more importantly to understand some very valuable lessons. Firstly everything in life is TEMPORARY….time, emotions, situations…everything. Secondly everything is as it’s MEANT to be for NOW….when we have learned the lesson which we need to from any given situation then we can and do move on and perhaps MOST importantly thirdly how other people act is THEIR RESPONSIBILITY but how we REACT is OURS!
Let’s just take a moment here to understand that VERY OFTEN before we can forgive others OR indeed expect them to forgive us….we first of all HAVE TO FORGIVE OURSELVES!!!
If then we take these three ”core lessons” and apply them to ANY situation which may be requiring of FORGIVENESS we must come to understand that;
TEMPORARY means exactly that, no matter how wounded, upset, angry or emotional we are about something it WILL subside and in time fade at the very least to a level at which we can at least consider the option that IF it was;
MEANT to be, what was the lesson we needed to learn from it and moreover how can we grow from that same lesson?
I know probably more than most how DIFFICULT this particular lesson is to take on board. I know only too well that the fear, misery and emotional turmoil brought about by not only the perceived ”wrongs” but the possibility that all the months and years of ”holding on” to those same ”wrongs” could have been so very different IF I had been open to the possibility that ”yes I was the injured party” BUT what if the reason for that was simply that I needed to learn a lesson to help me not only grow as an individual but to move on positively with my life? So then to the premise of the third lesson that of;
RESPONSIBILITY & REACTION; it is perfectly true to say that how others act is their responsibility and how we react to it is ours. I have found (admittedly late in the day) that in the short term at least NO REACTION at all is the better option, at least whilst I consider my RESPONSE which is a very different scenario altogether! If we take on board that in stressful situations, especially those where we are emotional or hurt in some way and we react in an adverse manner it could actually be this factor which becomes the catalyst for a protracted period of hurt, emotional turmoil or even estrangement from someone. Lets be clear, whilst in all likelihood our adverse reactions wouldn’t be the actual cause of any difficulties they most certainly COULD be the reason behind wasted years of frustration, upset, anxiety and alienation with the added complication of us being left ”on the outside looking in” as others close to us fail to understand why or even how we could be ”so unreasonable”. Trust me on this when I say I REALLY DO know what that feels like and having been there would urge anyone …..in the first instance….to always consider their response rather than come to regret a knee jerk reaction.
You must understand that I’m not advocating we roll over and surrender in any of this. Not at all. What I’m suggesting is that EVEN in the most trying of circumstances we should give ourselves space. Space to breath. Space to understand that what we’re feeling is temporary and will pass. Space to contemplate that what is happening is meant to be happening for a reason. Space to give ourselves time to understand that ultimately our reaction to the situation WILL play a part in determining the outcome.
Of course it can and indeed does take years for us to reach a place where we are willing to consider any of the above as possibilities and even then PRIDE will often become a stumbling block to restoring communications as we struggle with the concepts of ”having to back down” or ”why should I be the one to make the first move”.
When find ourselves then in situations which ARE requiring of FORGIVENESS what are we supposed to do? Do we just take a deep breath and mentally forgive someone or something? Do we demand an acceptable explanation or apology before conferring forgiveness? Do we try and understand or consider the bigger picture. Do we simply do nothing at all and allow any ill feeling, estrangement or alienation to continue indefinitely?
DO WE CONVINCE OURSELVES THAT NOTHING’S WRONG & EVEN IF IT IS, IT’S THEIR FAULT, THEIR LOSS?
For me the best advice I could possibly offer anyone would quite simply be this – ultimately accept the situation for what it is, release the need to understand the dynamics of it, relinquish the need for control (if you don’t apologize I won’t………??) simply let it find its own level, let it be. There’s an old adage……’‘least said soonest mended” and that is obviously a matter of personal choice but………..
In CHOOSING to forgive someone or something (including YOURSELF) do so NOT because you expect them to be grateful…chances are they won’t be because they will rarely have taken responsibility for their part in the situation.
Forgive them because in doing so you will be setting yourself FREE.
Free from the burden of being STUCK. Free from any associated GUILT you may feel for your part in it all. Free from the power which someone or something has held over you for far too long. Free from anxiety, upset and emotional turmoil and in doing so you instantly become FREE to stop looking backwards and start looking FORWARD to the future. YOUR FUTURE and one that is indeed awash with the prospect of a renewed optimism and fresh HOPE.
Secure in the knowledge that
FORGIVENESS HAS BECOME YOUR PASSPORT TO FREEDOM