Just admit it. You’ve been wronged before. Despite every bone in your body to walk away you retaliate. A word here. A sly comment there. Glaring eyes. Pretty soon it’s on… The draft for people to get on your team in support of the evils that someone else did to you, your family, your business. 

Festering wounds.

They hurt. They hurt for a long time. They never seem to heal. Why would they? As they get close to healing, we peel back another layer to reveal more pain.

Dragging around guilt, shame, resentment, or that self-loathing view that you must be right creates a festering pool of pain. Ironically when this happens the default becomes ‘why is this still happening to me’ when the direction should be ‘I am so glad I let that go.’

Here are five ways to let go of the festering, creating space for forgiveness. Forgiveness is the catalyst for growth. We will never rid the world of pain, but we can decrease the amount of festering that seems to follow it around.

  1. Find Compassion. Developing compassion for yourself and others is like brushing tangled, dry hair with an old hairbrush… it’s going to hurt a bit, but when the pain is over and the tangles are out, what is often left is a peaceful feeling that made the hurt worth it. Compassion works the same way.  One of the best ways to learn compassion is to put yourself inside the mindset of a child, acting out of fear to protect themselves. You don’t know what you don’t know, until you know. This is called perception.
  2. Decide to be Happy Rather Than Right. There are times to be right and there are times to be happy. Choosing happiness over being right covers more ground than always trying to fight for your right. In the end if the person is being an irresponsible brat [or insert your favorite phrase for them] then rest in the knowledge that they are just that… Lesson learned. Boundary created. This is called peace.
  3. Take a Look at the Situation From All Angles. Remember that in every situation there are 360˚ to see it from. Often, the best thing to do is to look at whatever “it” is from a different angle. You will likely see something new. If you look at it form various angles and nothing changes, well… you have an answer. This is called perspective.
  4. Just Forget About It. Once you forgive someone or some situation, walk away from it. Here’s the angle. Forgiving is not forgetting (we obviously don’t forget things very often, especially when we are hurt) and forgetting is not about never remembering. Forgetting is about detaching from the emotions that keep us done. Understanding that most people strive to do their best… that day, that time, that moment. When we hold on to emotions and feelings around what others have done to us, we may miss their growth, their forgiveness. We are saying their journey matters less than ours. This is called pardon.
  5. Love Yourself. First, you deserve to love yourself. Secondly, loving ourselves means that we are taking responsibility for our what we think, the words we say, and the actions we take. Ownership is so crucial in every situation. Ownership means we are accountable and responsible for the part we play. This is called power.

Growth comes when we are reminded that whatever has happened to us, happened for us. Holding on to negative emotions around events is like a festering wound. Allowing that wound to heal means when we see the scar, we may be reminded of what happened and we are grateful that we are not in the same place as we were then… Growth.