To Forgive or Not Forgive


For many years I struggled with the concept of forgiveness. I didn't necessarily walk around angry and despondent. I just developed the ability to sweep people under a rug and forget they ever existed if they offended me. As dysfunctional as that may sound, this was my coping mechanism. Needless to say, my methodology did not work at all. My pathology was such that I struggled with disappointment. I disliked being disappointed. However, the more I held people to ransom in my mind, the greater the difficulty I had moving on with the important things I needed to do with the rest of life.

Unbeknownst to me, refusing to forgive and let things go was costing me my future. Yes, I had a job, functioned as a parent and went about my daily affairs but I was not fully engaged in my life and in the lives of those I loved like I should. My desire to hold onto the things I needed to let go of was robbing me of my destiny. I made a conscious or unconscious decision to allow my history to bleed into my future. As the root of unforgiveness dug deeper into the fertile soil of my heart, I was losing more and more than I could have ever imagined. The people who I believe offended me were going about their business. They had no idea how I felt and most likely didn't care. My choice to not forgive was costing them absolutely nothing but was turning out to be a very expensive venture for me. It was contaminating my thoughts, my mind and poisoning my life.

Things changed for me when I came across a quote from Gandhi where he said very simply, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." I had always thought of myself as strong and resilient. I was working as hard as I could to overcome the odds that have been stacked up against me. It was a revelation to realize that in actuality, I wasn't strong at all. My refusal to forgive the people who I believed (emphasis on the word believe) have wronged me was a clear sign of my weakness so I vowed to renew my mind so I could wipe the slate of my heart clean and move on with my life. I knew I could not change the past with any act of forgiveness but I was determined to change my future.

It's been years now and I am enjoying the freedom of being at peace with every man. I have since learnt that forgiveness is not a favor that you perform for your adversaries. It's a gift you give to yourself. Refusing to forgive is literally self-incarceration. Before you say, "Oh, It's not that easy," let me tell you that I agree. It's not an easy thing to do but it's something that must be done. The foundation of living a successful life are thoughts, the mind and choices. If I have learnt anything over time, it is to choose to walk the path to forgiveness always.

Marianne Williamson put it this way, "Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness."

1 comment:

  1. Agreeing to the core.There is a saying in Tamil - 'There are lots of ways to defeat to your enemy,the first one is "forgiveness"'. But, I am trying my hard to forgive people who inflicted wounds to me.

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