“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” ~ Robert Muller
Do you consider yourself to be a forgiving or resentful person? If somebody has hurt you in the past or did something to make you suffer, would you hold on to those past events, thoughts and feelings, or would you just let them go?
I always say that where there is anger, hate, revenge, bitterness, there is also a lot of pain underneath, and I really believe that to be true. A person who is blissful and content with herself and the world around, no matter how many mean people she will encounter and no matter how much pain those people may cause her to feel, she will always respond with love, kindness and compassion instead of anger, hate and resentment. Loving people know that an eye for an eye would only leave the whole world blind, like Gandhi said it, and they choose to do no harm to the world around them.
“If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives: Be kind anyway. If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies: Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank people will try to cheat you: Be honest anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight: Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous of you: Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten by tomorrow: Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough: Give your best anyway.” ~ Mother Teresa
I know it’s a lot easier to give back exactly what you receive, and in this case, a lot of negativity, but we don’t want to do what’s easier, but rather what is best for our health, our well being and that of those around us. I know that people can be really mean sometimes, and that they can do horrible things to those they come in contact with, to those they love and care about, but I also believe that people can change, and this is why it’s so important to give up on your personal history that you might have had with those people, and allow them to show you just that.
If you keep an inner record of what this/that person did to you, and what they said to you, and how they made you feel, how much pain they may have caused you, etc. , every time you will come into contact with them, you will be reminded of all those things, and you will never be able to forgive and forget, nor to allow them to show you how sorry they are for what happened. No matter if they did all of those things on purpose or not, by holding on to grudge, anger or whatever it is that you are holding on to, you will bring even more pain upon your shoulders.
Just think about it. How is it possible to affect them with your hate, or whatever feelings you have towards them? You sit at home, ruminating about all the times they have mistreated you; and all the times they have hurt you; and all the many horrible things they did to you; making all kind of scenarios in your head about the things you want to tell them, and about the many ways you could get even…
You spend most of your time doing just that, when the people you hate so much are probably having the time of their lives, not being affected by your feelings at all. It just doesn’t make any sense. Your ego might tell you that it does, but deep down in your heart you know that what you are doing is pretty crazy and disturbing.
I guess it’s time for you to stop, don’t you think? Forgive and forget, not for them, but for your own sake. Why spend your time thinking about something that would only attract more anger and drain you of your emotional, physical, and mental energy, ignoring all the beauty that is present in and all around you…? What’s done is done. Let it go. Detach yourself from it.
For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the many mistakes people make in this case, I would say, is that they choose to hold on to something that is not healthy for them, just because they aren’t willing to let go of some past resentments. Why won’t you let go of something that is causing you so much pain?
Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten. ~Buddha
Here’s what I would like you to do: take a sheet of paper and a pen, and write down a couple of questions, questions that are meant to help you see things differently, and help you let go of your own misery. After you write each question, try giving an honest answer to each and every one of them:
- Who is the person that mistreated you? Is it your mother, your father, your spouse, is it your child, your best friend, your neighbor your dog, your cat? Who is it?
- Do you think they did what they did just to hurt you? Do you think they did it on purpose?
- Do you think it’s possible for you to forgive them, and I mean, really forgive them?
- Do you think it’s possible for you to forget everything and go back to how things were before?
- Would you rather hold on to your anger than go back to being friends? Can you even remember how good it felt to be in their presence, to spend time with them?
- Would you say that they are sorry for what they did?
- Are you willing to give up on the relationship you had with this person because of what he/she did to you?
- Is it worth being upset? Is your ego really that big?
- What does your mind tell you to do?
- What is your heart telling you to do?
- To whom are you going to listen? Your heart, or your mind?
And then make a decision. You either choose to continue being friends with that person or not. Whatever your decision will be, you will eventually have to let go in order to be happy!
Let go of that friendship, let go of the relationship you had with this person, let go of those past resentments, let go of the hate… let go of that person you once loved. You will have to chose, and no matter what your choice would be, you will eventually free yourself.
And here’s another tip for you. If you choose with your mind, who is so critical and judgmental, and most of the time telling you all kind of crazy things that would only attract even more anger and resentment upon you, you would probably have many regrets afterwards. On the other hand, if you choose with your heart, who is constantly trying to help you see that letting go of all that negativity, would not only bring you freedom but will also help you rediscover the inner peace and happiness.
It doesn’t have to be as complicated as your mind is trying to convince you life should be. Simplify your life! Listen to your mind but always follow your heart.
Do you think forgiveness is an act of weakness or of strength? Is there anyone in your life you feel that you have to forgive? You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below