Forgiveness is not just about accepting an apology but about learning to move on and living a “resentment free” life. The concept is a simple one but by no means an easy one. Yet it holds within it the power to set you free. Resentment is like taking poison and hoping that the other person will die. Forgiveness on the other hand is release from the prison your mind wants to put you in.
Relationships are complicated no matter which way you look at them. Parents, partners, children, siblings, friends or colleagues… our lives are made up of bridges we have built with other people. As individuals we are all islands and bridges are a great way to reach out and connect to people. But we often forget that relationship bridges are also prone to weather conditions and require regular maintenance. The strength of the bridge will not be tested on a bright sunny day when there are no winds. It will be tested when you put more load on it than it can carry or if it has to deal with tornados and hurricanes. But here comes the challenge – you can only ever secure your end of the bridge!
It is inevitable that things will go wrong in any relationship. That bridge you built will falter or even break under the pressure when the storm comes. Things will escalate quickly and leave you with horrible memories that will fester and burn in your heart and mind. With our five senses, we are hard wired to look outward. The sound we hear is the sound of something external and the world we see is the external one. So why should the problem be an internal one? Our design does not allow us to see our own behaviour and we blame the other person for the destruction of the bridge. We become a victim!
Why is it that when we make a mistake, we are only human but when others make mistakes, it becomes unforgivable behaviour. What is in us that gives us permission to fail but not to others?
Perhaps as a victim we have the right to be hurt and find the negative energy that will fuel our disappointment. And worse still, we have the perfect excuse to absolve our self of responsibility. After all, it isn’t our fault! It never is. We can now blame the other person entirely and come out looking clean. Our ego is happy because we are doing all the right things to make it stronger. Resentment breeds bitterness and vice versa. It is a vicious cycle. And the more time you spend thinking about it the stronger the ego gets.
Forgiveness by no means forgetting and it does not mean allowing recurrence of bad behaviour. It simply means “Stop being the victim and let go”. Stop being angry at the other person and yourself and reduce the significance of the pain. No doubt various events in life will trigger painful memories. But if you have truly let go then it will be nothing more than a passing moment. Forgiveness can also come in the shape of a conscious choice to look on the positive side and seeing the glass half full.
Forgiveness has to start with an inward journey. With ownership of your own contribution. The only condition for forgiveness perhaps is that it has to be driven by harmony in mind, body and soul and it has to be complete. Good intentions by themselves will deliver nothing. Beware of the efforts by the ego to further itself by disguising the so called “moral highground” as forgiveness. There is no highground in forgiveness. You will find that it lives in humility.
Because forgiveness frees your mind and allows you to get on with your life. It is that simple. You have a choice in surrounding yourself in negative energy and living in resentment and forever being the victim or moving on and becoming free. A choice in rebuilding a bridge or standing around and watching the destroyed one from the shore. Forgive and become free. Free from the negative emotion, free from the other and free from yourself.
You are the person who benefits the most from the forgiveness. Can there be a better reason to forgive?