Forgiveness Is A Verb - How To Choose To Let Go Of Hurt
Has anyone ever hurt you? Mistreated you? Betrayed you? Taken advantage of you?
If you have lived longer than five minutes on this earth, someone has probably wronged you in some way.
Whether it was reckless, a misstep, or an outright deliberate act, we have all been on the receiving end of someone's hurtful actions. Today I want to spend just a few minutes talking about moving on from that - in the form of FORGIVENESS.
Most people think of forgiveness as an emotion. Being a sensitive gal myself, I'm all about some feelings. I can do heart emojis for days scrolling through feel-good social media posts.
But if we wait until we FEEL like forgiving someone, it's like waiting for the next season premiere of our favorite Netflix binge obsession. An eternity.
No - we can't rely on our feelings to determine when, or if, to forgive. Just like we've all heard countless times how love is a verb - so is forgiveness. It is an action that allows you to move past the pain, heal, and find balance again in your life.
So, you may ask, why do I have to do all the work? Why do I have to take the steps/action/movement? They are living their life like nothing ever happened? Why do I have to let them off the hook without consequences?
Not Forgiving Is A Cancer That Devours YOU
Bitterness starts to grow and then spread when unforgiveness is left to fester. And the thing about bitterness is that it doesn't just contaminate your life - it flows out of you and touches the other relationships in your life. Relationships that had nothing to do with the original wrongdoing. You then start to hurt the wrong people.
Holding onto hurts or a grudge does very little, if any, damage to the one who wounded you. They may not even know you are hurt. It could have been an offhanded comment that you took wrong or a simple misunderstanding. Even if it was intentional, and they know what they did, don't waste another second waiting for them to express remorse.
Their remorse (or even acceptance) is not a requirement for your forgiveness to work.
Forgiveness is the anti-venom to bitterness. It allows you to release the pain. It frees up space in your heart and mind that was held hostage with anger. Forgiveness is like opening the door to a damp, musty room and allowing all the bad particles to escape and all the fresh, clean air to come pouring in.
Forgiveness Is A Choice
In addition to a verb, forgiving someone is a choice. We make choices every day; big ones and small ones. We live a life of intentions.
We choose to go to work or school. We choose to be kind to our loved ones. We choose to make decisions that keep us safe, happy, and healthy.
And sometimes one of these choices is to forgive someone. Be specific. Be intentional. And the best part is, they don't even have to know. Of course, if it is someone you currently have a relationship with, it is definitely wise to try and have a discussion and possibly even a resolution.
But if that isn't possible, that doesn't have to stop you. Some hurts fester for years. Some pain is pushed down into our deepest parts. If the person who damaged you isn't around anymore - YOUR healing is still available with the act of forgiveness.
Forgiveness Is Not Forgetting
The truth is, it is the ones closest to us that hurt us the most. Face it, a stranger who makes a mean comment does not cut to the heart nearly as fast or deep as someone who knows us.
It is that intimate knowledge of us from those in our circle that allows them to know just how to offend and scar us. So even though you make the decision to forgive, you can cut yourself some slack in the forgetting department.
Forgiveness is not an erase button. It isn't even necessarily require a do-over. If the betrayal or injury was intentional and severe, you can make another choice. The choice to no longer have a relationship with that person.
If that person is family, and you can't completely distance yourself physically, you can certainly limit your interactions with them.
Learning to trust that person again is possible, and if both parties are willing to work towards that end, then that's a beautiful thing. But don't feel pressured or obligated to pretend.
Your emotional health and peace of mind if your ultimate goal. Not soothing their ego.
Don't Forget To Forgive Yourself
It has been my experience, literally, that the hardest person to forgive is the one in the mirror.
We often hold ourselves to a higher standard than anyone around us. Not sure exactly why that is, but it is still true.
And if you haven't messed up yet - believe me when I say you will. We all make bad decisions, with damaging consequences. And the key to getting past them is to own your misguided choices, forgive yourself, take a deep breath, and move forward.
And on that note, if your reflections cause you to realize you have harmed someone else, it is then on you to ask for their forgiveness. This doesn't guarantee they will, but at least you know you tried.
My Hopefuls, I understand all too well the pain of living with unresolved bitterness and anger. We expect the people in our lives to treat us with respect and return the love with pour into them. The truth is, though, it doesn't always happen that way.
Forgiving someone who hurt us is oftentimes the only way we can move forward into our life and future. Resentment follows like a dark cloud just waiting to erupt into a dangerous storm. Don't allow it to stay.
Turn the tables. Stand up to the bitterness. Recognize the power YOU have. Forgiving someone does not let them off the hook. It lets YOU off the hook. Release their toxic hold on your life.
Go forth and be free!!!
Hope With Abandon