“The action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.”
Can you think of a time where you were mad at someone, over something stupid? Then, the next day (maybe it took 2 days) when you made up and laughed about it, you both agreed that was a waste of both time and energy.
Can you think of a more serious time where you found yourself angry at someone close to you? Something where you were unable to forgive them for a long time, or maybe at all?
At some point earlier this year (Jan/Feb), I remember telling my Dad that I forgave him. Like any other 25 year old with parents who are no longer together, there is a story with many different reasons as to why I felt my Dad (maybe for you it was Mom) should hold responsibility for his actions. Beyond that, the story itself isn’t nearly as important as MY version story.
We’ve all had moments arguing back with someone about something they said, with our fantastic rebuttal that came just a couple hours too late when we are in the shower replaying the conversation. Some of us can go further and say it’s been years. All we ever have in these moments are our own version of the story. Goes the saying “There are 3 sides to every story, your side, their side, and the ‘truth’”. Not to say that middle truth nullifies any of your truth, it just may be that your truth does not include your counterparts truth, which despite what you may think, they do have.
The day I told my Dad I forgave him, it was just as one sided as most of the “after the fact” arguments I was holding onto and continuing even in his absence. Don’t get me wrong, my Dad said thank you, but not in that profound “Oh My God son how could I live without your forgiveness” that one may build up and hope for.
In that very moment, I realized the beauty of forgiveness. The anger, misjudgement, angst, sadness, and whatever else may have come with it, were relieved. Purely because I understood the person I had been hurting with the grudge, was myself. The power of “letting go” shows itself in many different forms. Maybe you sleep better, your stomach doesn’t hurt, your daily focus improves etc.. Regardless of how you heal, you must heal.
Forgiveness may not be direct to someone, it may not be in the same state or country, and they may never know that you forgave them. You have to know for yourself, and let it pass. People say forgive and forget. I haven’t quite mastered the latter part, and I’m working towards the forging great memories so the bad ones do become something of the past.
We must allow ourselves to forgive. For when you forgive someone else, you simultaneously forgive yourself. This takes acceptance, patience, and perspective. If you live for “Right” and “Wrong”, no matter who is right, someone will always be wrong. This is a tough battle field to constantly fight on, knowing there will always be a loser. Forgiveness allows us to understand both sides have equal cause, even if the cause isn’t equal.
Buddha said, “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, you are the one getting burned”.