In recent years I have uncovered a great deal about who I am. Some of these discoveries came to light after getting married, while some reared their heads when I became a mom and when my own mom got sick. Life experiences, both good and bad, have a way of showing us who we really are—whether we like it or not.
In managing the day-to-day struggles life offers us all, I have recently realized that I struggle with forgiveness. It’s been a tough discovery to process because I fully understand the importance of forgiveness, and I have always thought of myself as a forgiving person. I long ago forgave my father for the minimal role he played in my life. I have forgiven multiple family members for taking advantage of my mom over the years.
How I Can Tell I Haven’t Forgiven
Yet, I now realize that there are some people in my life I struggle with forgiving. And how do I know I haven’t forgiven them? Because as soon as something goes wrong in our relationship, my memory drifts right back to how they wronged me and the emotions come flooding back. And if I can be honest with you, I am ashamed to admit that I was even living in this space with anyone—let alone people I love. How can I still be in this space, even though I know better?
So what is this failure to forgive doing to me? The same things it’s doing to you, really. It’s hurting me. As a result, it’s also hurting people that I love. You see, when you fail to forgive anyone that wronged you –from your boss to your mom—that anger and pain starts to grow inside. And the growth is so subtle, you don’t even realize it. You think everything is okay simply because that’s what makes sense, but you soon realize that things aren’t okay because you still feel wronged and it’s an unsettling feeling.
Who are you failing to forgive?
Your husband? Your wife? A parent? Is there someone in your life who let you down in a way you never expected and you are having a hard time forgiving them and moving on? You are not alone. We’ve all been hurt, and sadly, most of us hold on to the pain and resentment a lot longer than we should. Most of us are stuck, unable to truly move forward, because we are holding on to some false hope that the past could have played out differently.
The thing is, the past is the past. It played out the way that it did, no matter how painful it was for you. What we all need to realize is that whether it’s your spouse, your friend, or your own mother, when you don’t forgive the person that hurt you, you are slowly destroying is yourself. The resentment eats away at you piece by piece, and one day you realize that the person who hurt you is doing just fine, while you are mad at the world.
Forgiveness is all about you.
Thankfully, my self-awareness and willingness to work through this is bringing me to a much better place. I am so grateful for that. Realizing that I can’t change a single thing about what someone did years ago, but I can change how I move forward, is liberating. Holding on to hurt and anger serves no purpose. And after all, forgiving isn’t about the person that hurt you. It’s never about that person. Forgiveness is all about you. It’s about letting go of the hope that things could have been different. It’s letting go of the pain and anger, and replacing it with joy and peace. Forgiveness is about acknowledging that we are all human, and no matter what you think you may never do, you should always remember that at some point in your life, you will need someone to forgive you.
As you enter into this New Year, think of it as a new opportunity to get things right in your soul. Don’t even think about the other person (or people) involved. Simple think about what you feel and what you need to do to release those negative feelings and create a better life for yourself. Allowing a person and the experience attached to them steal your joy and slowly eat you up is no way to live. You owe yourself more than that. Forgiveness will set you free. I know that’s what it’s done for me.
BMWK family, is there someone in your life you need to forgive? What’s holding you back?