One of the hardest things anyone can do is forgive others. I think that once a person is able to forgive someone that person is freed from a mental and emotional toll that holding on to anger and pain inflicts on oneself. I remember hearing that
“You need to forgive otherwise that person continues to have power over you. Forgiveness is important for yourself.”
I always thought about that and I wasn’t sure if I was the kind of person that would be able to forgive any and all transgressions. I believe there are some things that may not be forgivable, at least I know there are some people I am simply unable to forgive. I am not sure if this makes me a weak person, but I know that I do not want to live my life feeling resentment and anger for any small or big transgressions others commit.
As I write this I wonder, what does it typicallytake for me to forgive? Most of the time I am able to simply rationalize that whatever happened is small and trivial that in the larger scheme of life it doesn’t really matter and forgiveness isn’t required. By this I mean, although I may have a flash of anger when someone cuts me off on the highway while driving, that isn’t really something serious enough that I need to forgive someone else for. Just like I don’t really consider forgiving the man that doesn’t hold a door for me, or the person that stands in my way, these are simply every day annoyances that I simply acknowledge but don’t let them affect me.
I have learned I need to forgive instances in which people have inflicted pain on me or hurt my feelings through intentional actions. It’s not easy to forgive and it doesn’t happen overnight. Depending on the situation I have had to grapple for a long time with the pain and the anger I feel to find a way so that I am not blinded by both. I used to try and understand why a certain person may have decided to take actions that caused me so much pain, but I stopped doing that because I didn’t like what it was telling me about humanity. I needed to find the value in forgiveness without necessarily understanding what prompted the person to do what he or she did.
What I found is that when I was able to forgive someone my inner peace and internal equilibrium were restored.
I didn’t waste my energy on constantly being angry instead I found that by forgiving someone I felt freed from the pain. This is something that sometimes I need to practice constantly because I choose to keep certain people in my life that have hurt my feelings in a significant way. I don’t believe this makes me a doormat instead I believe it makes me someone that is compassionate, understanding and imperfect.
Forgiveness is critical to be able to fully participate in society and build meaningful relationships. It is also something that a person has to work at every day because depending on the type of wrong, there are some things that are harder to forgive than others.
When I started I mentioned there are some things I simply don’t know how to forgive, for me those actions are murder, sexual assault, and torture.