“Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.“
Negative emotions and vengefulness: We’ve all been there on some scale. I’ve been to the point of anger to where I would sit in the shower, and physically hurt. Hold my hair and cry type of pain. It seemed inescapable. I let my mind wander to where the source of that suffering was, and let it build inside of me and parts of myself were destroyed. There are always initial emotions and suffering that tend to happen when we are hurt. Yet I realized past a certain point, I chose to feel that way.
Pain is something that will always be around in life. Physical, emotional, and spiritual. Suffering is a choice though. When you let yourself be frustrated about that pain, you let that pain consume you. The second you come to that understanding, the easier it is to release that pain. However, it is extremely difficult to do. When someone does wrong unto you and genuinely hurts you, you want them to feel the pain that was done unto you. The catch is though, you’re the only one who is in control of how you feel at this point.
“Holding anger is like drinking poison, and expecting the other person to die.”
It’s important to understand that I’m not saying to just “let go” of whatever happened and pretend like it never happened, and I’m not saying that forgiving is always easy. In reality, that’s foolish. Forgiveness is a way of letting yourself be at peace, so you can move forward. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you have to let them be who they were in your life before. It just means you’re taking a step to be real with yourself, and real with them.
There was a moment I had during meditation and prayer during my time of suffering. I had been spending a lot of time alone, walking, and thinking for weeks. In that moment, I was there. Just in that moment. Nothing else was important or relevant. The only thing that was there was myself, my surroundings, my breathing, the presence of God, and I noticed something. I wasn’t hurting. I wasn’t suffering. I had let go of all the things that had passed and realized that I was THERE. I had been letting myself live in the past, in that moment where the pain struck, and created a reality that didn’t even exist besides in my own head. I cried, hysterically and happily.
After I had been at peace with the situation, I realized I had also been upset at myself for feeling the way I had and letting my suffering affect those around me. Then it dawned on me, the most important person to forgive, is yourself. We hold so much emotion and sometimes tend to ruin ourselves because of a mistake or a choice we have made, and it wasn’t healthy. I learned to love myself again.
To be in a forgiving place, I find you also have to be in a positive atmosphere. The more time you spend doing things that are good for your mental and physical health the better. A few days later, I had spent the day with a very special and close friend of mine. We spent the day doing fun things which helped keep my mind in a positive place. As I left her company I was driving home, the sunset was remarkable, but it was raining above me. It was one of the most beautiful and peaceful scenes I have experienced to this day. I took a stop on the way home, and forgave the person I had pent up so much anger and frustration about. This was a literal, life changing moment.
Here are some things that have resonated with me in my life that help me to be a more forgiving person.
We are all human, there isn’t anything that someone has been through that you haven’t either on some scale. You aren’t alone.
Jesus forgave the people who killed him. I think you can try a little harder to move forward.
Time heals all wounds, forgiveness is timeless.
Being a loving person means working towards being unconditional, which means forgiveness is always the option.
You hurt yourself more than anyone when you don’t forgive. Take care of yourself.
Just because you forgive, doesn’t mean life has to go back to the way it was. Move forward with peace in your heart.
I hope you all get the chance to experience the peace, forgiveness, and love that I experienced during that sunset in the rain.