Don’t let resentment and anger, over a betrayal, breed within you. Reach out, seek closure and move on.
Whenever you are wronged, especially by someone whom you have trusted, the hurt doesn’t go away easily. It continues to haunt you and causes you intense agony. People will encourage you to forgive. You too will want to move on. Yet there will be a struggle within you. And that struggle will make you feel miserable and suffer. You can go on suffering or you can seek closure and move on.
There are two ways to seek closure – either by forgiving (even if you can’t forget) and moving on or by reaching out, resolving and moving on. But move on you must. Staying there, suffering in your own hurt, makes no sense.
A friend of ours shared how he dealt with being betrayed by his own wife who had – and continues to have – an obsession for hoarding money. She apparently came from a wealthy family and also got a fortune by way of what her father had bequeathed her. Right from the beginning, she insisted on keeping “her money” in a separate bank account which only she operated. My friend says that he did find her choice strange but he did not ever raise the issue. 13 years into their marriage, when their son, who was then 11 (now he is 28), was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, the doctors advised an urgent, major Life-saving surgery. That surgery cost a huge sum. The wife apparently had lots of money sitting in her bank account and my friend’s business was doing badly. He had no cash with him. But, even then, his wife refused to bring forth the money required for the surgery. She told him that it was his responsibility to provide for the family, not hers. However bizarre and obnoxious he found the reasoning, my friend mobilized the required funds for the surgery from borrowings from friends. He says, after the surgery was over, he sat with his wife and told her that he could not relate to her anymore. He said their marriage was over. Yet, he said, they could live under the same roof, but separately. He recalls: “I forgave her. But even now I cannot forget the pain that her absurd choice, of not coming forward to support the treatment costs for her own son, caused. I have never had a conversation with her after that beyond muttering banal greetings. I just can’t. But I also don’t hate her. I understood, right on the day that she made her choice, that she was someone I could not relate to anymore. I left it there. And that’s where our relationship has since been.”
You may find this whole story absurd. I too was shocked when I heard it. But my friend’s attitude to seek closure – and not carry the resentment or grief in him – is remarkable.
Reaching out, forgiving and seeking closure may seem difficult. But only until you have not tried reaching out or forgiving. If you let the hurt grow, it will consume you. You can never forget the pain of what has been done unto you, but closure does ensure that the episode cannot grow in proportion anymore. Anger, grief and guilt are always about a past event. Staying in the past will only keep you out of the now. And if you are not present – in the now – you are not living! The learning for each of us here, from my friend’s story, is that no matter what happens, no one can take away your choice to seek inner peace by reaching out, by forgiving – even if you can’t forget – and by moving on.
You can either be bitter from Life or better from it.
A key reason why many of us turn bitter, over time, with Life is because we are not able to treat events as events. We hold on to them, analyze them, and regret them, refusing to let go. Let’s say someone says something harsh to you. In reality, it’s just an event. But if you keep mulling over it, wondering why it was said, and what will others – who heard this person say this of you – think of you, then you are surely going to end up feeling miserable. Chewing endlessly on by gone events, holding on to past grudges and painful memories, is a sure way to invite suffering into your Life.
I am reminded of the Zen story of the two monks who were walking in the Himalayas.
A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross the river. The young woman asked them if they could help her cross to the other side.
The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows at their monastery not to touch a woman.
Then, without a word, the younger monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on with his journey.
The older monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. He simply stood there staring as his young colleague briskly walked up the hill. After re-joining his companion, he was still speechless, but seething with rage nevertheless.
An hour passed without a word between them. Two more hours passed. Then three. Finally the older monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out: “As monks, we are not permitted to touch a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”
The younger monk looked at him, startled at first, and then, comprehending the full import of his senior’s question, replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”
Unfortunately, many of us, even if we have grown older, like the senior monk, have not grown up. We still carry baggage from our past with us – principally, hurt, regret, resentment and grief. And so we stumble along through Life. Our painful memories enslave us to the past and ensure we stay bitter. And this way we remain unhappy – unable to enjoy the present moment, the now! This is true of a lot of people, a lot of the times.
|Siddharth Varadarajan: No Bitterness|
Therefore, it was indeed refreshing this morning, to read Siddharth Varadarajan’s (the former editor of The Hindu) views on his unceremonious exit from the paper, following some Boardroom intrigue at Kasturi & Sons Ltd. (KSL – the company that owns The Hindu) earlier this week. An online portal asked him if he was feeling betrayed. And Varadarajan replied: “There is no question of feeling betrayed. I came to this job with my eyes wide open. I had a great run as Editor of The Hindu, which is India’s finest paper, and am grateful to the KSL Board for appointing me to the post.”
Clearly, whatever be the event that you end up having to face in Life, you have two options. You can be bitter or better from it. If you choose to be bitter, you will miss the opportunity to live fully and to experience the magic and beauty of Life in each moment. If you choose to be better from the experience, you will find yourself soaked in abundance and inner joy!