Sometimes it takes a massive shakeup in your life for you to wake up and see the world in a different light.
Bitterness, anger, avoidance and combative behavior solves nothing. Being kind, empathetic, understanding, compassionate and generally a happy person can have a huge impact on you as well as those around you. Perhaps the hardest, yet most freeing thing you can do is learn to forgive and move forward. (Sometimes THAT seems impossible)
Forgiveness. Many people say that they have forgiven someone, yet every time that individual’s name comes up you can just hear the anger or sarcasm in their voice and their facial expression changes. Clearly, they haven’t reached a level of true forgiveness. And I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve been hurt and angry. I have said I have forgiven someone but deep down I was still holding onto what they did. I couldn’t let it go. But true forgiveness requires that you do just that. LET. IT. GO! (Anyone else see Elsa from Frozen after reading that?) It also allows you to move forward and believe it or not, heal. When you begin to heal it becomes the most freeing feeling. You can talk about and think about that individual without bitterness or anger. Sometimes, you can even talk TO that person again.
It is easy to give advice to others and tell them to get over it or be kind even when others are unkind to you, but until you are faced with that situation (especially an extremely difficult and hurtful one) you truly don’t understand just how hard that can be. I think it’s our human nature to retaliate and want to hurt others that hurt us! We want them to hurt because of the pain they caused us…BUT doesn’t that make us just as bad as them? It doesn’t solve anything (may make you feel better in the moment though, right?). In the long run, you won’t feel any better and you will actually do more damage to both YOUR physical and emotional wellbeing.
When you finally learn to forgive, let go, and move forward…one of two things will happen; either you will find a way to rebuild that relationship (depending on how important that person was in your life…in my case, my father) or you will be able to move forward and leave that relationship behind. Regardless, you will find peace. And man, that is a great feeling!
Pastor McReynold’s (my grandmother’s minister) once said, “So many people think that hate is the opposite of love, but they are wrong. The true opposite of love is apathy.” Those words are so true. Hate comes from being hurt and caring too much. Now, I’m not saying we should all become apathetic. I’m saying that once another person’s actions or behaviors no longer evoke strong emotions from you, you have achieved complete forgiveness and are able to move forward.
Being hurt really stinks, but unfortunately, most of us will experience it in our lifetimes…it’s part of being human. How we deal with that hurt helps to define who we become. I have chosen to be a kinder, gentler, more loving person. I will not let someone else’s behavior harden my heart. What will you choose to do?