Per Webster-Merriam, to forgive means to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw or mistake.” The dictionary goes on to define additional definitions for the word, yet it doesn’t explain to us HOW we are to forgive. It doesn’t give us a roadmap on the WAYS to forgive others, or even more so, how to forgive ourselves. It doesn’t teach us the BENEFITS of forgiving those who have wronged us, nor dose it highlight the DOWNFALLS of holding on to the anger and hatred brought about from the injustice. As humans it is not an easy endeavor to forgive someone who has hurt us, or lied to us, or offended us, or even abandoned us. Nor is it easy to forgive OURSELVES, something that is necessary if we are to move on from our own past failures or missteps.
When we are wronged, a memory is forged into the depths of not only our brains, but also of our hearts and souls. We feel every cut and burn of the memory and so we quickly build a barrier around our hearts to insulate and protect ourselves from the pain of the injustice. Everything reminds us of that pain – a song, a smell, a location – and we feel trapped by it, unable to run away from the memory. Forgiveness in and of itself is so far from our thoughts that we can’t even fathom the idea of forgiving the other person for the pain they put us through. We can’t even put together the necessary thoughts or words to explain why we can’t forgive them. All we know is that it takes all of our energy, all of our being, to simply survive the pain itself; therefore, it feels IMPOSSIBLE to even consider forgiving them.
But all that energy that consumes us begins to eat away at our own existence. It keeps us from living life to our fullest potential, it keeps us from enjoying all that is around us, and it keeps us from moving forward in our lives. It isn’t silent, either…that energy emanates from us in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Either consciously or subconsciously that negative energy lingers upon our daily breath. We cannot seem to distance ourselves from the pain, and instead of freeing ourselves from it, we try to bottle it up and hold on to it, rather than throw it away.
As time passes we begin to weaken from carrying the load of the past and we search for ways to ignore or forget what was or who was the cause of our burden. We begin to realize that we can no longer carry the weight and look for ways to rid us of the negative energy. WE cannot fully overcome our pain if we do not look to forgive the person who wronged us. WE must set aside our ego, and we must ignore the thoughts and opinions of those around us, in order to fully forgive the person who hurt us. In order to move on with our own life, fully and without any strings, we must learn to FORGIVE. It doesn’t mean we forget what had happened, but it does mean we move on from the memory of the pain and begin to live our lives with a little more bounce in our step and a little less worry on our hearts.
It isn’t easy by any means, and it definitely takes time, but it is necessary to learn to forgive if we hope for an existence that is filled with internal peace and joy. The burden of carrying around with us the anger, sadness, confusion, and whatever else that comes with the pain begins to feel lighter because we start to see more of the sunshine that is around us, more of the flowers that are in bloom, and more of the love that is emanating from ourselves and others in our lives. We begin to enjoy the new memories we are creating in hopes that they will continue to buoy us in times of trouble or darkness. But we also know that in order to survive, in order to thrive, we must always continue to forgive and move on…the question is, are you ready to forgive?