When You Don’t Want To Forgive, Do It Anyway.
Forgive. It is a powerful word. To forgive basically means to accept, and move past what you feel was an injustice to your sensibilities. The word forgive is terrifying at times, because it means letting our guard down – letting someone off the hook for something we feel is unforgivable. We feel that if we refuse to let this person off the hook, they will continue suffering. The trouble is, this way of thinking is completely backwards.
By holding a grudge – we only hurt ourselves. Period.
When I was 8 months pregnant with Chloe, I was shopping at Target. Kaiden was sitting in the cart and I was looking at some Christmas gifts in one of the aisles. Some crazy lady decided I was in her way, and instead of asking me to move, she proceeded to ram her cart into the back of my ankles.
I wish I could tell you that this was a made up story – it’s not. I turned around in shock and the woman avoided eye contact and pushed her way past my cart, scraping up against the side of it as she did. Now at this point – I am 8 months pregnant and a woman of God, not to mention I have my 1 year old in my cart. She is lucky, because had she pulled this crap prior to my new way of life; I would have tackled her like an NFL player and choked her out with Christmas lights.
But I don’t live like that anymore. So what did I do? Nothing – abso-freakin-lutely nothing.
Wanting to avoid confrontation, I bit my tongue and continued my shopping. Within minutes I found myself stewing about this woman’s brazenness. I’d pick up a coffee cup with reindeer on it and say under my breath to no one in particular, “You believe this b****?” “No she didn’t” “She’s lucky I’m pregnant I’ll tell you that”.
I was literally walking around this store plotting this ladies death, meanwhile she was probably picking out denture adhesive not even giving me a second thought.
Would I have felt better if I had stood up for myself and cussed her out? Perhaps. But opening that door might have taken me to a place I didn’t want to be. I could see it now: “Next up on the 5 o’clock news, a pregnant woman attacks an old woman at Target sending her into premature labor – and it’s all caught on film.”
This obviously wasn’t an option for me, and replaying it over and over in my head growing angrier each time wasn’t helping either. So you know what I did?
I accepted an apology that I never received.
That’s right, I accepted an apology that she never gave me and I forgave her for what she did. I have a choice, and I chose to control my emotions, as oppose to letting them control me.
Sometimes, people are unaware of the emotional havoc the may have wreaked within me, there will be times when I don’t receive an apology I deserve.
An apology is not a requirement for forgiveness.
We can forgive whoever we want, whenever we want, even if the person is completely oblivious to the fact that they have been pardoned.
Now this is just a small example of a situation. There are many times where people do unspeakable, and seemingly unforgivable things. I am not trying to minimize the other persons actions nor am I suggesting we run around and forgive every jerkface who has crossed us.
What I am saying is; when I find myself obsessing about a person I feel has hurt, cheated, deceived or angered me, and when it gets to a point where it is robbing me of my peace – I then evaluate the importance of the resentment I am harboring, and decide whether or not holding onto that hate is helping, or hindering me on my journey.
I truly believe that when you forgive someone (whether you feel they deserve it or not), you are releasing at least 10 pounds of dead weight.
It is our job to keep our minds healthy, and I don’t know about you, but I function much better when I keep the negative energy out, and invite happiness and positivity in. In order to do this, I have to choose to let go of things that no longer serve a purpose, for there is limited space in my mind and I would much rather use that space for something beneficial.
Someone once told me that ” resentment is the equivalent of lighting yourself on fire, so the other person dies of smoke inhalation” and I had to stop for a second and process this. I had never thought about it that way and it ended up changing everything.
I have to remind myself that while I’m stewing about that ex-boyfriend who cheated on me, he is probably having the time of his life somewhere, not giving me a second thought. So screw him! Just kidding. I forgave him, and I carried on.
My point is, the ability to let go of something that feels really important to me is hard, but so is lugging around a backpack full of hate everywhere I go. I know now that forgiveness will never change the past; but it will absolutely, positively change the future. I have a choice of how I react and respond today, and I choose love – every time.
Now, having said all this I would just like to get something of my chest. Hey lady at Target, if you’re reading this – I’m not pregnant anymore. Cash me ousside how bah dah?!