When you forgive someone, you are freeing yourself.
A lady told me the other day that she is finding it very difficult to forgive her husband for having an affair with another woman. She and her husband are going through a separation. “But I can’t get down to forgiving him. I am unable to move on,” she confessed. She wanted to know if there was a way to forgive.
I told her that forgiveness is the only way to move on. But let us first understand that people do things we dislike to us, stuff we don’t want done to us, like causing us hurt and grief, only because they don’t see themselves as doing anything wrong. So, in this lady’s case, it is possible that her husband saw nothing wrong in his relating better with someone else and being drawn to her. Now, with the lady clinging on to the hurt, while her husband has moved on, is what is causing her suffering – unnecessarily. And she will suffer until such time that she forgives her husband and moves on.
This perspective applies in all contexts to all of us.
Simply, there is no point in grieving over others’ behavior. Because you have no control over them. What you can control is how you respond. Therefore, forgiveness needs to, and must be, cultivated. This does not mean you give up your stand or stop being firm in a situation. Fight the issue, fight the good fight, be dogged about what you believe is right, including the way you want to be treated, but forgive the person.
The practice of forgiveness involves training your mind using three steps: 1. Give the situation love. Send peaceful thoughts and energy to that person. This may be initially difficult, because the very thought of that person may make you feel angry. But keep at it. Keep saying, “May everything that this person wants to achieve in Life, and with me, be possible and may there always be light, happiness and peace in this person’s Life”. 2. Find ways to communicate to the person what your stand or views on the issue you are fighting over are. Avoid getting even. Stick to the point. Text messaging or sending a simple email are good options for such a purpose. Remember a physical interface can only aggravate and lead to a verbal duel. 3. Work hard on not revisiting that hurt. Immerse yourself in what gives you joy. Music, children, work, nature…whatever; keep reminding your mind that you don’t want to think about the hurt.
When you forgive someone, you are freeing yourself of all the emotional burden you would otherwise be unnecessarily carrying! Holding on to a resentful episode at a personal level means you are continuing to hurt. This will only chew you up, keep you unhappy and make you suffer. When you walk away, with forgiveness in your heart, from a hurtful, resentful situation, you are walking away happy. Doesn’t that matter the most?