“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi
We’ve all been hurt at some point in our lives, one way or another. Maybe someone broke your heart, influenced you on a wrong path, crushed your dreams or betrayed your trust. Even worse, you might have experienced a brutal tragedy such as physical/mental abuse or even worse you might have experienced rape.
When I was younger, I had a best friend, I trusted her with my life; she was someone I could relay on like a sister. Not a single day would pass we weren’t at each other’s houses, just doing our homework, eating junk food, laughing, singing and sharing secrets, like any other 11 year olds.
Five years of friendship to realize what a fool I was in trusting her, to realize she wasn’t who I thought she was; She hurt me so badly that it turned into this feeling of anger and hate, a scar that was forever engraved in my heart, all I wanted to do is to hurt her the way she hurt me, make her feel the suffer I had to go through because of her. I lived the next few years in painful visions of what could have been if I did not trust her the way I did.
It’s very hard forgiving someone and letting go of the pain they caused, you might not be able to forgive and forget, but being able to fully forgive a person who hurt you can actually help YOU in moving forward, finding your path and living in peace with yourself, it has been scientifically proven to relief stress so you’ll be also doing your self a favor.
Just remember one thing, no one is purely evil with no remorse for hurting someone else (unless they are sociopaths) even if their ego is above the sky, odds are they do feel some levels of regret or remorse.
“Forgiveness is like letting a prisoner free and finding out the prisoner was you”
So how was I able to let go, move on and forgive? After taking my time in healing I came to the conclusion that its either I forgive her or I will be forever grieving and feeling bad for myself which wasn’t what I intended to do for the rest of my life. Five years of being apart, I decided to write her a text message and asked her if she was willing to talk about the whole thing again (5 YEARS LATER), she agreed and came over, she busted into tears and gave me her side of the story, it was a turning point in my life, it has helped me in so many ways that I am forever thankful for.
So here are some things that helped me forgive:
- Forgiveness is a choice:
You must truly know that forgiveness is a choice you make; forgiveness lays within you, you can’t say, “I just couldn’t”. Now of course it does take time, and do take the time you need to heal but if you really want this inner peace, and allowing yourself to heal, you could take the decision to forgive, at any point when you’re ready and if the conditions permitted.
- Forgiveness is for YOU:
Remember that forgiving someone does not mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you, or condoning of his/her actions. It is for YOU to find peace, it is for you to heal and move on.
- Write down your feelings:
I used to journal a lot when I as younger, I had these dairies where I wrote down all my feeling, I remember having 10 pages of what happened then, how it hurt me, and how angry I was. When I decided I wanted to forgive I opened up the journal, it did hurt reading it again but it helped me process my emotions and re-think the whole situation and look at it from a bigger picture. In a way it helped me better understand why was I feeling that way I did back then and how shall I come about ending the whole feeling of frustration I had.
- We all make mistakes:
I know that some of you who’ve suffered brutal tragedies from someone cannot relate to this, but in a way it is important to remember that we all make mistakes, we sometimes say or do things unintentionally that could cause pain in others. Try to put your self in that persons shoes, try understanding why they did what they did, what happened to them in the past that made them do it? Are they suffering from past tragedies and experiences that have led them to do what they did?
By asking these questions you are not saying that what they did was right, but just trying to dig deeper to understand and empathize.
- Living happy is the best revenge:
Instead of focusing on the pain and suffering they’ve caused, and therefore giving them the power to control your life, focus on yourself, learn to find peace, love and forgiveness for that person so that the choices you make in your life are truly based on you and not caused by the actions of others.
I read a book by Lewis B. Smedes called Forgive & forget – Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve. This book shows you how to move from pain and suffering to healing and finding inner peace through forgiving and also letting go.