“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
-Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiveness is a funny business.
We are naturally inclined to hold anger and blame towards those that have wronged us. It takes a real effort to let go and forgive.
Paradoxically, by holding on to blame, we are prolonging the pain for ourselves. We allow the person that has wronged us to continue wronging us. It’s weird that our brain wants to do this, but it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise considering it’s one of many instances in life in which we act masochistically towards ourselves. Whatever.
What we have to do is recognize what we are doing so we can do something about it.
To let go of pain, you must forgive. As hard as it is, you have to forgive those that have wronged you. And you have to do it for you.
This might be hard for you to accept, especially if you are used to holding a grudge, but it’s completely necessary. You might think they don’t deserve to be forgiven, and you might be right, but this isn’t about them, it’s about you. The best thing for you is to forgive.
Do yourself a favor and forgive.
Holding onto pain and resentment hurts you more than it hurts whoever has wronged you. Think about it: Do you really think the other person (or persons) is that distraught the situation? Do you actually think they are wallowing in regret and despair?
Not only are they not thinking about it, they’ve already put it out of their head and are on to other things. People will always eliminate pain if they have a chance to. So don’t expect anyone to be that “upset” or “distraught” over something they did to you. It isn’t a realistic expectation, and it should have nothing to do with your feelings.
When you hang on to forgiveness, you are punishing you, not them. Never forget that.
Let it go.
Give forgiveness freely. Life is too short to let negative feelings of regret and blame drag you down. When you carry around hurt, anger, or resentment, you carry pain and negativity. You let yourself be “wronged” over and over and over. You let others dictate how you feel. Why would you want to give power to others? Really, why?
In fact, anytime you get angry, flustered, hurt, upset, mad, whatever, you are giving power to someone or something else. If you spend some time analyzing this you see how absurd this actually is.
As Markus Aurelius said, “Everything we hear is an option, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
If you are suffering from the pain that someone or something has caused you, it is up to you to decide how you will respond. Only you have the power to forgive and free yourself from the prison of blame and torment. Only you have the power to say, “I’m in control and I choose to respond this way.” This can be as trivial as forgiving the guy in the truck from cutting you off or for forgiving your ex for cheating on you. You have to own how you feel. It’s up to you and you alone.
Holding onto blame is letting the past infect the present. It is a decision. To prevent pain at the hands of others actions, you must forgive.