Woman with arm up in victory in front of a sunset

When talking with my friends, the subject of forgiveness came up. We shared stories of things that had happened to us in our last 40 years of life. Several of us had been hurt and put through unimaginable pain by people we love, and yes, some we once loved. 

Some of the stories made me cry. One of the stories made me think yeah, you may have brought that one on yourself. (This may have been one of my stories.) Not that what happened was right, but maybe avoidable. 

Forgiveness is a tricky thing for me and can be very difficult.

I mean, when I think about forgiving someone, it feels like I am giving up my stance, that I am over the hurt.  Or that whatever they did doesn’t matter anymore. That is the furthest thing from the truth. 

Or that my pain doesn’t matter! It feels like I am letting them off the hook for what they did. 

Or and this is a big one…..when I know beyond a shadow of a dought I was right in the situation, and they still did the thing to me that hurt so badly. 

My nature is to hold on to the wrong and let it control my thoughts, which ultimately control my life. Not forgiving an act is one of the most personally devastating things I have done to myself. 

After getting mad, maybe crying and letting it consume my thoughts day in and day out, I realized I had to do something different. Revenge? Trust me, I thought about that just about as long. 

The only answer to my pain was forgiveness. It was the only thing I hadn’t tried. 

Crying to my friends like a sad sack. 

Talking about it in a revengeful tone. 

Pretending everything was okay.

None of those things worked. Forgiveness huh? I decided to try it. I mean, what could it hurt. I had to have a talk with myself about how this was going to happen. I needed to heal. I needed to move on in life and my thoughts. 

Not just distract myself but truly change the makeup of my daily existence.

But how? I don’t ever want to put myself in a situation that this could possibly happen again. Or do I, do I want to trust humankind again? I quickly realize that I can be hurt in any situation and that I just have to be better prepared to deal with it. 

What I can’t do is keep reliving it in my mind over and over. Honestly, they probably haven’t even thought about what they did or recognized the hurt inflicted much less care. That is hard to deal with too. 

I want them to feel the pain I have felt. I want them to see that I am doing okay, despite them. But am I? Most probably not. Not till I settle it in my mind and spirit.

So I decided it’s okay to remember the pain, so I don’t fall into this crazy mindset again. I have to realize that no matter how deep the hurt, I can say, “You know what that person is awful, what they did was a ridiculously jerky move. I forgive them anyway.” and leave it at that. That’s it. Even though it doesn’t seem to have all the raw emotion the offense itself produced, that’s it.

When I boil it down, I try to forgive because I can’t live with the anger I hold toward them. It takes up to much of my time and thoughts. Also, I want people to forgive me when I have wronged them.

None of this means I am okay with what they did just that I am taking control and choosing not to let that dictate my thoughts and life.  

We only get one life and holding onto unforgiveness is not the way to live it.

Forgiveness man, it’s a life-changer.