As children we are taught to forgive each other after disagreements, arguments, and fights. It was hard to forgive as a child, and even harder to forgive as an adult. Letting go of resentment is one thing that I have not yet fully grasped. I find it easier to forgive those that I have no relationships with than people I have close relationships. Many times I have failed to realize that I have caused others grievances, and that maybe they are struggling to forgive me for what I have done. Sometimes I have found it hard to apologize, and even harder to forgive. However, I decided I must let go of what keeps me bound.
When I realized that my life was confined to a small dark space that was crowded with hurt, embarrassment, fear, and disbelief that is when I knew I had to make a change in life. Being unwilling to forgive displayed that I was stubborn, and lacked humility. I was unable to repair what was broken in my life because I had been unwilling to forgive. It was my point-of-view that did not yield the results I wanted. In our own perfect worlds, we all think that we can do no wrong and our way is the right way. Truthfully, there are people that we have hurt who are struggling to forgive us. Simply, we have misunderstood and failed to understand.
As people we all yearn for understanding, and we all want to be understood. The view we have of life and situations are mostly predicated on our experiences, our upbringing, and our social backgrounds. It is perception that makes us differ, and a determining factor in how we relate to one another. Perception is the way you think about or understand someone or something. Further, perception is a way of judging something or someone and coming up with a set of ideas that are assumed to be true. More times than not, we perceive people or events to be a certain way and use our own theory to explain why things happen.
More than often, my perception of how someone should behave or act is based upon my own life experience. I have failed to realize that the person that has caused me grievance only operates from his or her own understanding. As a human being with real emotions, it is hard to not feel resentment, especially when you have been insulted, lied to, betrayed, and treated unfairly. If I am expecting progress in my life, I have to stop expecting an apology. The person that has caused me grief will most likely never apologize to me or ask for my forgiveness. For whatever reason, the person or group that has wronged me, is either too ashamed to apologize or has no conviction for what has transpired. All I will have gained is wasted time and energy being angry and hurt.
In turn, anger and hurt turns into blaming oneself for being unaware of the motives or actions from the person who caused you affliction. It is this same blame that can turn anyone bitter and motivate a person to hate. That hate is directed towards anyone who has the same qualities as the person who has hurt you, or even oneself. I know that I have blamed myself repeatedly for what others have done to me and said about me. I was most angry at myself for being duped and mocked. Because I believed these things had power and validity, I was the more susceptible victim. I let what others have done to me and said about me influence the way I have lived my life; full of insurmountable fear. The only way that I could begin to erase fear is by forgiving one of the most important people in my life, and that is me.
Forgiveness has to start with me. I have ridiculed, been dishonest to, and treated myself unfairly more than anyone else could. It was I who believed what others had to say about me. It was I who betrayed me with thoughts of unworthiness and disgust. The hardest person I have had to forgive was me. Today, I am still going through the process of forgiveness. It is a long arduous road to recovery, yet I am willing to take the road less traveled. I do not expect any shortcuts in this beautiful complicated thing called life. I am ready to forgive, be healed, and set free. I want to be made whole.
Willingness to forgive means to relinquish all control. Giving up claim to resentment and vengeful feelings is a freeing experience. It is not the person who has hurt us, but our feelings that have kept us captive. The video has stopped and there no longer is instant replay on every word and action that has been said against you. You no longer have to play the judge, prosecutor, jury, and plaintiff trying to reach a guilty verdict on the accused. It is time to surrender because it was never a battle that you were supposed to fight. With forgiving you exhibit compassion for those who do not know the victory of being free. You illicit hope that they can be free through forgiveness. Yes, I know I am not perfect, but I am willing to give up all claim of resentment to be set free and made whole.
What are some experiences that have caused you grievance, and are you willing to go through the process of forgiveness?