I’ve never been the kind of person to hold grudges, nor have I ever wished harm over someone who wronged me, I’ve always believed that the best thing one can do is to forgive, forget and just let go, it’s better that way, and it’s more peaceful, it’s also very easy to apply, as long as I remind myself that there’s no good in holding on to the reasons why I felt hurt in the first place. Yet there was this time, this one time, when human instinct got the best of me, and I no longer felt compassionate or tolerant, I only felt anger, pure consuming anger, and I just couldn’t find it in me to forgive, the concept itself had left my mind.
There are different types of hurt, most people blame the ones who hurt them and with time it helps them move on and make peace with the whole situation, but the worst type, is when you blame yourself first, it’s when you’ve been lied to, deceived and stepped on, but it’s not only their fault, it is yours as well, you’d feel used and there’s nothing more poisonous to your heart and mind than that particular degree of hurt.
It was a moment that defined the rest of my life, it was also the biggest trial for me, as before that, I really had no right to call myself tolerant, because I had never been wronged that way, and never had I had to struggle to forgive myself, only then was I faced with the real reason why forgiveness is considered as an act of bravery above anything else, and I got to learn the hard way its true definition. I used to think forgiving someone is declaring that you’re okay with what they did, that you no longer feel hurt and you can easily look them in the eye without feeling all different kinds of betrayal, I thought it’s a something we do after they apologize, there’s no point in forgiving if they haven’t apologized yet right?. I was wrong. I knew nothing about forgiveness, nothing.
Since then, I’ve grew and learned a lot, I’ve moved on, but I never really let go. For years it was stuck in my mind, for years I thought about it and had the same feeling, every single time, it’s like I was destined to stay put in one place, no matter what I did it always lingered there unwavering for reasons that were unbeknownst to me, I kept looking for answers everywhere, where all along I’m the one who held the answer. The day I learned that the only way for me to carry on is to forgive, I actually felt more pissed, it was out of question, something ridiculous and pointless, it felt impossible, for it is already hard enough to forgive the wrongdoings of people who never meant any harm, but for ones who hurt us with pointed precision and out of mere intention, shamelessly and unapologetically, that’s a whole other matter, and that’s what I had to deal with.
I didn’t feel free and I wasn’t ready to let go of the anger, I don’t know how but one day it just happened, I realized that the grudge I was holding was damaging me and no one else, and it felt unfair to give someone so unimportant such immense power, it felt weak to stay prisoner to feelings that should belong in the past, and moments that can no longer affect me, as the years I wasted dealing with them were more than enough for me to become immune to that.
That’s how I learned what forgiveness really is, it is to make peace with yourself and say that you no longer feel it is your fault, to think about the one who caused all of this and say I forgive them, I don’t feel bitter or hateful toward them, even though they don’t deserve this, even though they never have and never will ask for it, even though they would do it all over again if they could. Never in a million years have I thought I would even think like this.
It wasn’t until much later, that I learned that it is the only way to be free, the only way to fully let go, it’s the one thing that can stop that fire from burning, forgiveness goes beyond apologies and excuses and tolerance, it’s an unconditional one sided act and one that needs a great deal of courage and determination, it does not happen over night, after all we’re all humans and it’s easier and natural to hold a grudge, it is letting go of that grudge that needs strength and when you’re finally able to do it, it will flood you with an unexpected amount of freedom, needless to say that had I known then what I know now, I would have been free since way longer.
No one knows why people do what they do, but in my case that dark part in my life was one of the main reasons I am who I am today, and the things I acquired because of it, are things I wouldn’t have learned any other way, that was enough reason for me to let go, because I surely don’t regret my choices, no matter how bad the consequences were.
I’d be a liar if I said it went away, I don’t think it’s supposed to. But the thing I have now and didn’t have then, is peace. I no longer feel my heart burn when I remember, my smile doesn’t fade and I don’t go back there, it was a precious lesson, now it’s just a memory, that’s all it is now and all it’ll ever be.
To anyone who’s reading this, know that in life you would get hurt many times by so many people, they could be strangers, friends, family or anyone, and unfortunately you wouldn’t be able to control the way it would make you feel at first, what you could control is how long are you going to hold on to that feeling.
When someone causes you harm, it does not show anything about you, it does not define you, it’s only related to them, they are the ones represented by their words and actions not you. When we’re deceived we see it as us being gullible and naive, while in fact its the other person being a liar, we think when we’re made fun of it means we are what the other person says, it only means that they are inconsiderate and insensitive and that’s all there is. Just like when you say something to another person, it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, but it most definitely shows the kind of a person you are.
Hurtful actions are not meant to change the way you look at yourself, they are meant to show you the true color of people, learn to recognize it as it is, and then just let it go, the only way to do that is to forgive and forget, there are no shortcuts, no alternatives, trust me I’ve went trough all of them, and nothing has ever given me the closure I needed until the day I found it in me to forgive.
It is not easy, but just like we dare to ask God for forgiveness every single day for our countless sins, we should be able to forgive other people, after all each and everyone of us is susceptible to make mistakes and even cause harm to others, and if you think you deserve forgiveness even a little, others do too.