Thursday, April 6, 2017

F is for Forgiveness – It Doesn’t Make You Weak, It Lets You Live

Nearly everyone has been hurt by another person’s actions or words.  It can be extremely hard to forgive someone, especially when it seems clear that they have hurt you on purpose.  However, the inability to forgive may mean you are the one who ends up paying the most for their bad choices.   
Forgiveness has been shown in scientific research studies to be associated with physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.  Those who hurt others may think they are happy but someone who does such things truly never is.  They wouldn’t need to do it if they were happy with themselves. 

You can decide to forgive and let go instead of harboring fantasies of unmasking the person in front of all those who don’t see what they are doing and of making the person understand and feel terrible regret.  Yet some people can’t let go of their longing to hurt others and their ability to do so.  Understand that this had nothing to do with you.  It often stems from some influence that caused them to feel the need to make others feel bad likely beginning in their childhood. 

They don’t realize that whatever happened is in the past and nothing they do will make up for it.  In other words, they are not able to forgive whoever it was in their past to cause them to need to make someone else hurt like they were hurt once upon a time.  Yet that is not your problem nor is it your baggage though they may want it to become yours.  If you can forgive them, you can move on with your life, something they will never be able to do.

Forgiveness means letting go of resentment and thoughts or fantasies of revealing the person as who they truly are or revenge. While the actions that hurt you might always remain part of your life, forgiveness can lessen its impact on you letting you focus on other more positive parts of your life and those more worthy of your attention. Forgiveness may even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

When someone you love and trust purposely betrays you or hurts you in some way, it is not unusual to become angry, sad or confused. Often we think if we just explain to them how much pain they are causing, they will understand something they didn’t before and make amends.  The truth is sometimes this may happen, but sometimes it may not, especially in cases where the harm is intentional.  However, If you dwell on hurtful events or situations you are likely to become overcome by grudges that fill you with resentment, vengeance and hostility. If you allow yourself to become filled with negative feelings to the point they crowd out and supplant positive feelings, you could soon find yourself consumed by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that you have to forget what took place, take the blame for it or deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you.  Nor does it minimize or justify the wrong they have committed against you. You can forgive the person without excusing or normalizing the act. Wrong is wrong and there’s no excuse for wrongfully hurting another no matter how many they may have convinced otherwise. 

If anything, the person who hurt you deserves your pity since they are likely living in their own cycle of vengeance and attempting to prove something to themselves.  This cycle is often about needing to find a sense of control in their world by controlling others. The inability to ever truly trust others may lead some people to believe they need to hurt you before you hurt them despite the fact that you have no intention of doing so. 

Letting negative emotions and a lifelong grudge which you can never truly discharge rule your life is giving them the control over you that they so desperately want and on some level, need.  If you find yourself struggling to make them understand the error of their ways year after year and your entreaties seem to not just fall on deaf ears but to make matters worse, it’s time to let go and move past them without looking back.   

Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life. As you let go of negative feelings related to the person, you'll no longer define your life by how you've been hurt. Your compassion and understanding related to the one who has hurt you will allow you to exercise an even greater degree empathy for those who truly deserve it. Forgiveness will help you let go of grudges you are holding or bitterness you are feeling have making way for happiness, health and peace and a sense that all is right and as it should be with the world.

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