Reading the word, “Forgiveness”, may make you relive all of those situations where someone has broken your heart, betrayed you, or lied to you. I believe we all have our own stories on those topics and if you do not, keep living and you will. However, I often think it is extremely hard at times to move past all of the devastating events that people have caused you to endure. Exactly how do you move forward with love, confidence, and strength knowing that a person and/or people have beaten and stabbed you in back, seemingly on purpose? It all points to one word, a word that is sometimes the hardest to display in your actions and in your heart…forgiveness.
I have been often told that you should forgive and forget, which I believe is a very difficult task to do and you may too. Instead, I think it should be forgive and release. In order to move forward with your life, you must not only forgive what others have done to you, but you must release it in order to truly forgive someone. My post Releasing the Past may offer some suggestions on how to begin the process of releasing. On the other hand, if you are unable to release, you may find yourself holding on to those things and becoming bitter and ultimately, holding a grudge against those who have done you harm. Unfortunately, while having a grudge, your heart also hardens and you may be unable to discern when someone in your life is honest, caring, and loving.
Forgiveness is not an emotional act that happens overnight and it is not to be done for the other person, but for you. For example, I had several issues with my father while growing up and although I tried to suppress them and ignore them, those issues eventually spilled over into my adult life and before I knew it, I was hurting people around me and blaming him. At the time I was unsure about how he felt about our relationship and I was too stubborn to ask. I believed that in since my father caused me pain and heartache, he should have been the one to call and make our relationship better. So, I sat and waited for that phone call…for years, only to realize that was not going to happen and if I wanted to move past my pain I had to forgive him and release the issues I had with him, which I discuss more about in Daddy Issues.
After completing my process of releasing the anger, sadness, frustration, and any other feelings towards him, I began to feel better, but most importantly I began to understand him and I was able to forgive him. Although we do not have the picture perfect daddy and daughter relationship, I believe that I am in a better place about it and with him and that is what matters most. However, I do believe that forgiveness can look differently, depending on the situation. For instance, you can open your heart to release pain regarding a person who has physically violated you or abused you and forgive them, but that does not mean that they are worth accepting. You will have to determine what is best for you after you forgive, which may include moving on or starting the relationship with a new foundation. Just be careful with who you begin that fresh start with because you do not want to forgive someone and possibly return to the same state as before.
Overall, forgiveness is a process and it begins with you. If you decide to wait on other people, you may be signing up to wait for a long time, like I did with my father. However, if you truly want to be free from that person or those negative feelings, let it go. It will take time, but once you are able to forgive and release, you will be able to move forward with clarity, understanding, and a loving heart.
“Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. It is something we do for ourselves to move forward.”~ Unknown