According to Sir Elton John, Sorry seems to be the hardest word. Although sorry is a heavy, heavy, word there may be an even harder word to deal with…forgive. Forgive can be an extremely difficult concept, especially when it comes to people, ourselves included. According to Merriam-Webster.com, this kind of forgiveness is defined as “to cease to feel resentment against.” Seems simple enough in theory, but it can be oh so hard in practice. Many people seem to think that to forgive someone they have to accept whatever the transgression has been as okay. That’s not true. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the violator but naming him/her, and everything to do with the victim.
And still it is sometimes so difficult to forgive. Knowing that it will free you, knowing that it will make you lighter, knowing that it will release the burden…still it can be so daunting. So some people keep dragging that burden around keep letting it make little cuts in their psyche, keep letting it hold them back, from the right relationship, the right job, the right whatever. Think about it, is there someone that still burns your chaps when you think about him/her? I bet there is. Maybe it’s an ex maybe it’s a family member or a friend, maybe it’s a stranger. Recently, for me, it was some previous coworkers.
I was recently reminded of my neglect in forgiving them when they ended up sitting in my line of sight at a local event. The first thing that entered my head was “You gotta be kidding me! There goes my afternoon!” Then “Really, you’re going to give these slime balls that kind of power?” I’m so grateful for those times that I can actually hear my quiet voice of reason whispering to me. She was right. That, my friends, is the power of forgiveness – the power to completely dissolve any power that someone has over you because of some transgression or violation they have perpetrated against you. As long as you haven’t forgiven them, they live rent free in your head all the time, affecting your thoughts, your actions, and how you feel. Did I walk up to them and say “Hey, yeah, uh, I forgive you.” Nope. That’s the cool thing about forgiveness, participation of the heathen violator is not necessary. One more thing that proves that forgiveness is for your own well-being, not that of the meanie that hurt you.
“But I’m still really mad!” you say. That’s okay. This was one of those particularly difficult forgivings for me, but I did it. I did it right then and there. Here’s how I know that it worked. I’m still pissed about what these people did, but it no longer sits in my heart like a cold, lead cannonball, weighing me down. My heart feels open and light like it should. You don’t have to give up your feelings and surrender; you just have to let the darkness out. You can work through the rest afterwards, but oddly enough, you can’t work it out and move on until you’ve done the forgiving part.
Have you ever had a hard time forgiving someone? I’d love to hear how you overcame it or how you’re working through it.