Forgive and you will be freed.
If you had known me earlier, you’d probably find me as a resentful and whiny person. I used to hate my past, the many unpleasant events, and the people associated with those memories. And when I told my stories, I usually feel heated. Not from enthusiasm or excitement, but from anger and disappointment.
Then one day, as I was repeating a hurtful story to a group of close friends, they reminded me that I had told them the same thing 4 years ago.
“Why are you still holding on to this? You have many wonderful things happening in your life. Aren’t you contented?” said one of them. I went speechless for a while because she was right. The conversation we had that day caused me to reflect for months. I desperately wanted to understand why I could not just forgive and forget.
Apparently, to forgive means I betray myself!
Perhaps that was why so many people could no let go. We confused anger with care. We thought to hold on means we are actually addressing to what happened. So if we forgive, we indirectly “allow” or “welcome” the bad experiences. That hurt our ego, and we feel betrayed by ourselves.
But Not Forgiving is the True Self-Betrayal
Looking within, I finally see how this emotional baggage was draining me from becoming myself.
Because I couldn’t forgive, I held grudges and I instinctively avoided getting hurt. I became super protective and stopped doing things that potentially give people the chance to criticize me. My world shrunk, and so have I.
To become the kind of person I want to be, I realized that I had to learn how to let go quickly.
I found that forgiveness is about the change in one’s mindset.
1. Understand that You Are Not The Only Victim
Ask “why (only) me?” and you will start believing that the world is unfair towards you. It is difficult for us to forgive somebody especially when we feel entitled to fair or better treatments from them. The question is, though, how do you measure fairness? Maybe what you judged as bad for yourself may not be so in reality?!
I remember complaining about my father for the many decisions he made, those that I thought were unfair to me and my family. I blamed him for the struggle he brought to us. But when I put myself in his shoes, I suddenly saw the reasons behind his every action. And indeed it was tough love!
But he was already the victim when I complained about him.
2. Know That Everyone Makes Mistakes
We know that no one is perfect and we understand that everybody makes mistakes. But when we get offended, we chose to believe that people did it to us intentionally! This belief makes it even harder for us to forgive.
Know that a mistake is a mistake. If the person learns and changes, they deserve forgiveness. If they keep hurting you even after you voiced it out, reconsider the relationship. Forgive the person for not knowing better, but you don’t have to stick around with them.
3. Accept What Happened
For many, the past haunts. We cannot go back to change what happened. The best way to face it is to accept it as it was, understand that everything that happened was necessary for our growth.
I personally believe that everything happens for a reason.
4. Acknowledge The Lessons
Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself what you had learned from the heartaches and the disappointments. I’m very sure you know you’ve grown from the unpleasant experiences. Be thankful then to the ones that hurt you. They had come to teach us the life lessons we needed to learn. Or else we will forever be naive and childish.
What doesn’t kill you make you stronger, remember?
5. Choose To Be At Peace With The Past
One thing I learned about holding on to grudges is that you can never have peace. Whether it was you that you cannot forgive or others, the negative energy accumulates in you and become a block. Eventually, it limits you from being truly happy!
Forgiving doesn’t mean you have to accept the person who has hurt you into your life again. It simply means you let go being hurt by the memories of the unpleasant experiences. You consciously choose to be freed from the emotional ties that restrain you.
I forgive because the only way to fly high and go far in life is to first lose these unnecessary weights from my heart.
Else, I would be very tired…