Having been through a divorce a few years back with 2 small children I had the opportunity to reflect long and hard on forgiveness. Yep, over and over…
What is forgiveness? Why do we need to forgive? Is it even necessary? Is it possible?
Although it might seem contradictory, forgiveness is fundamentally about you, not anyone else. It is about you because it is you who suffers when you carry resentment and anger inside you. It is about you because you cannot forgive without first making an effort to really understand the situation. It is about you because you cannot forgive without being really honest with yourself. It is about you because it is your responsibility to love and respect yourself first and foremost.
Forgiveness comes fundamentally from a willingness to forgive and a sincere desire to understand. You cannot easily forgive someone through just wanting to be a good person and leaving the past behind you. It requires a willingness to forgive and a clarity that forgiveness is about you finding peace.
To forgive does not necessarily mean to forget or trust again. Forgiveness is to accept what has happened and know it cannot be undone. It is what it is and the important thing now is to be happy and that cannot happen when you carry the burdens of the past with you.
Life is only lived right NOW, so the only moment that truly matters is now. You’re primary concern, therefore, should be that you feel great right now. Everything that takes you away from that should be banished. Forgiveness starts with forgiving yourself for what happened (why did I let it…how could I be so stupid…why didn’t I…) which allows you to live peacefully now.
If I don’t feel good right now, then my life is not a good one and I will just continue to live more of the same in the future (because what I think and feel today will define me tomorrow). That MUST be my priority, and if that is my priority then I must let the past go. Letting the past go is about ME being happy right now. It has nothing to do with anyone else. I am the only person who can truly understand me and I am the only person who can make my life better.
I forgive because I want to be happy right now (have a quality life) and because I know the past can never be undone. I forgive because I know that will improve my quality of life and of those around me. I forgive so that I am free from the past, but I do not forget as the lessons learnt from my experiences can be valuable in being clear about who and what I choose in my life. I forgive because I choose to be a strong person and be an example for others to follow.
I forgive because I love and respect me!
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Ghandhi
“The first step of forgiveness is the willingness to forgive.” Marianne Williamson