When a topic on forgiveness is usually brought up, it is thought to be a simple task. Even when someone hurts or offends us, it is easy for us to say we forgive them. If we truly forgive them, why is it so easy to bring the situation back up again? Forgiving someone is one of the hardest things to do. When you truly forgive, you are saying that all of the hurt that was caused no longer affects you. For a long time, I held grudges against people who hurt me. I would not mention their name or think about them, because it would make me angry. However, I realized this was affecting my relationships with friends, family, and the outside world. If someone said something to me that reminded me of an individual that hurt me, I would go into attack mode.
At first, I did not think holding grudges would have an effect on me. I felt that removing all communication from someone who pushed my buttons was healthy. Not only would I cut people off, but sometimes I would curse them out. It was as if I was playing a game of, “hurt them before they hurt you.” I did not realize that I was intoxicating myself mentally with this mindset. I felt the effects of it for the first time when I ended a friendship that meant a lot to me. One of my closest friends text me saying something in a joking way. Instead of texting him and telling him how it offended me, I text him back saying, “Fuck you and your birthday Bitch.” After I text him that, I blocked him. About six months later, I reached out to him apologizing, only to find out that I ruined our relationship. Because of past experiences with other people, I took a joke serious. I should have let him known how it made me feel, instead of jumping to conclusions about his intentions.
Not only can unforgiving people cause you to act out of character when you see a similar resemblance, but it can also affect your day-to-day functions. For a period of time, I was really angry with my father. In fact, I can go as far as to say I hated him. The expectations I had for him, he did not meet as a parent. Because he was not there like he should have, I blamed him for the struggles my mom had to go through as a single parent. Now that I am older, I realized that I had to forgive and have compassion for him. Because I focus so much on mental health, I am realizing that it had to hurt him to not be in his children lives. There was something wrong with him internally to walk away, without knowing the livelihood of his children. I may not understand it, but I can imagine the emptiness he must have felt in his relationships to do that.
When talking about forgiving parents, I know what it is like to forgive a parent you are actually close with as well. As everyone may know, my mother and I are extremely close. I do not talk to her about everything, because she is my parent. However, I do discuss a lot of things with her. When I was making decisions that could have cost my life to go downhill, my mother was very upset. Because she was so upset, she said some things that I know she now regrets. It affected our relationship tremendously. I felt myself starting to resent her, because I could not understand why she would say these things to her child. Once I stopped seeing it from my perspective, I realized that her love for me was coming out as anger. This was her cry for my attention, without her realizing the effects it would have on me.
Forgiveness is all about understanding that whenever someone hurts you, it has nothing to do with you directly. They are battling things internally that causes them to give out hurt and disappointment. When you continue to not forgive someone in your heart, you are enslaving that person mentally. You have to mentally release that person, and realize it is going to empower you. I recently did this with everyone that I have ever dated. I noticed that I was holding a grudge with every one of them, that was preventing me from getting to the next level of my life.
When I was writing in my journal about the people who I have dated, I began writing an entry forgiving them for things that specifically did to hurt me. As I continued writing, I started to realize that I was holding on to a lot of negative energy that caused me to shut down. Not only did I forgive them, but I forgave myself for getting into those relationships knowing I could not love them with all of their issues. After doing that, I wrote the following words, “I forgive and release you from my life. I speak positivity, and success over each and every one of your lives.” This was so therapeutic, and my heart felt completely free.
I challenge everyone to do this exercise. Realize that in order to be successful in doing this, you have to forgive yourself of any decisions you made first. Take a piece of paper or a journal, and write down any decisions you regret in your life. When you have written those down, understand that you made those decisions because you were not the person you are today. Now say to yourself out loud, “I forgive me. I apologize for hurting me. I release myself from feeling any guilt or pain.” Once you have forgiven yourself, then you should start working on forgiving others and releasing them.
This is not going to be easy, but the long-term effects of it will make you a better person. You will learn how to understand when it is time to let go of a situation, and you will also learn how to properly reach a resolution to any conflict that goes on internally within yourself or externally with others.