Let’s talk about forgiveness. It’s a topic I’ve worked on a lot these past few years to ensure I have completely forgiven others.
You see, when someone has wronged you, forgiveness is usually the last thing on your mind.
You’re convinced they deserve all the anger and hostility you can muster, right? But…
I had to learn that my anger and frustration does nothing to the other person. I’m the one left feeling some type of way.
Let me be transparent here for a moment. I had a grudge against my father from the time I was 12 years old (when he stole and pawned my favorite Brother typewriter – y’all remember those? – because he needed money to buy drugs) until my early 30s. That’s a looooong freakin’ time.
Because he wasn’t around much, I didn’t really have that many dealings with him but when I did (like family reunions, etc.), I wouldn’t call him by his name, wouldn’t address him, wouldn’t give him a hug, and definitely wouldn’t tell him I loved him like he told me every time he saw me. I would even call him my “brother’s father” or my “momma’s ex-husband,” essentially disowning him. LOL
But what I finally realized after so many years is that he went on living his life like nothing happened and I was the one left with those ugly, hateful feelings about him. My body’s the one that felt physical pain when I saw him.
You see, holding a grudge is like punching yourself in the face and expecting the other person to say, “Ouch.” And I did that for years!
So what did I do? I started to read articles and books about how to forgive other people AND how to forgive myself for making myself sick, literally, from the wrongdoings of my dad (speaking of which, “dad” was never a word I would even let pass through my lips years ago. Now, I can say it with no hateful feelings #Progress!).
What I finally learned about forgiveness
Forgiveness is the healthy and logical choice for several reasons. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Failing to forgive creates misery. Man o’ man, do I know! Maintaining negative and hateful thoughts don’t feel good at all. By refusing to forgive the person that wronged you, you’re harming yourself.
- You’ll be stronger. Forgiveness can be VERY challenging! I’m sure you can agree that a lot of times, it’s easier to just stay angry. But when you actually put in the work to learn how to really forgive, you become a stronger person overall and it’ll show in other areas of your life. Additionally, it will get easier with time!
- You’ll find your way back to center. You know the past can’t be changed, but your attitude surely can. Ask yourself, “what’s the purpose of my anger?” If you stay angry for the next ten years, what will you have accomplished? Nothing you do today can change what happened yesterday. But learning to forgive can help you change your attitude about the situation a little quicker.
- It’s better to forgive sooner rather than later. Whether you forgive them or not, they’re sure to pop back into your life at some point especially if they are/were close to you. In most cases, they’ll act as if nothing ever happened and that’s what really grinds my gears! However, your resentment will make you feel bad all over again if you’re still holding a grudge. The sooner you forgive, the sooner you can put the matter to bed.
- Yeah, we all make mistakes. We’ve all done or said things we later regret. But you can’t expect to be forgiven for your transgressions if you’re unwilling to forgive someone else’s of theirs.
- Forgiveness may be the best form of revenge. While you might feel the need to strike back, forgiveness is the best policy. Show them you’re enjoying bigger and better things. Living a happy life is often the best revenge!
- Improved health. The Mayo Clinic states that forgiveness can lead to healthier relationships, lowered blood pressure, a stronger immune system, improved heart health AND a higher self-esteem but you already know this right? 🙂
- Forgiveness is self-serving. It’s something you do for yourself because the alternative is harmful to your health, happiness, and future. Be good to yourself. #SelfCareAnyone?
- Forgiveness is necessary for a life fulfilled. Forgetting is optional.
Forgiveness requires real strength. The fastest way to heal any transgression against you is forgiveness.
And remember that forgiveness doesn’t always mean that you give the other person a second chance. It means that you’re not willing to suffer any longer.
I shole wish I knew these things a long time ago! But it’s all good. We live, we learn, and we exist to help others get through similar situations. I hope this has helped you move past anger toward others and yourself and move to the forgiveness stage.
It may not be an overnight thing but progress is success!
Over to you…
Who do you need to forgive? What methods have you used (or plan to use) to make sure you do so sooner rather than later?