There are some days when I find it so hard to forgive. Recently, I have found myself being miserable, feeling burdened and tired. A quick survey of my last few months led me to believe that I was being drained by the negative emotions I had brewing inside.
Gasp! ME?! But I am NOT like THAT!
But here it is: Someone wronged me (or so I believed); an incident that I was already feeling sensitive about was broadcasted to others and I was embarrassed and angry. Angry with myself for doing that stupid thing and angry at her for not only being aware of it BUT for telling others! Oh the shame! When you are competitive, self conscious and somewhat insecure, incidents such as these catapult you into a downward spiral of harboured anger and resentment, which can quickly become something physical.
As it so happens, I was put on blast. It was highlighted, quite publicly that I was harbouring resentment and that it was stifling me, pretty much. Imagine, I was already sensitive about it and now others KNEW how I truly felt! Surprisingly, it was okay with me because I was fed up with how it made me feel. Chained, stifled, heavy, miserable, disgruntled (ALL THE TIME!) and most of all, unhappy.
I am typically a happy, cool, relaxed girl. I had made it my mission, early in life, to let go of things quickly because life was just too short. I have found however, sometimes it’s hard to let go and forgive. Mostly, in those times when you feel wronged and justified in your hurt. You want to lash out and you feel like forgiving is letting ‘them get away with it’. And it’s not as though you don’t want to; but somehow the thought of it won’t let go.
So what to do? I’ve come to know this truth: Forgiveness is tied to blessing and total well-being. You physically harm yourself when you choose not to forgive. Not only is that true, but you are tied to someone who most likely have already forgotten about the incident while you are still fuming inside and harming yourself! A close friend said it best about a year ago: “I don’t know why some people do not choose to be better instead of bitter”. Ouch. She couldn’t have known I would be struggling with that right now.
It’s a matter of choice: you can keep the feeling and stay mad all the time or choose to let go and live.
So today, right now, in this moment, I am choosing better. I don’t like that feeling and I enjoy being happy and free too much. “Whom the Lord has set free is free indeed” (John 8:36). Make the choice to allow no negative incident/experience to limit your freedom- choose to break the chains. As Bob Marley said “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds”. Emotions ties us to the experience and the individual, and we become slaves to a feeling. Enslavement of any kind, first begins in the mind. It is also where freedom begins. The healing starts when we decide to renew our mind and spirit, and take that step towards our inner peace. At some point or the other, we will be wronged or we will wrong another. We will have to decide to forgive, seek forgiveness and also release ourselves from the mistake that we made. An important part of the transaction is forgiving yourself. That is something that we sometimes forget to do.
Remember – the shoe will be on the other foot someday. As we say in Jamaica “Today fi you, tomorrow fi me” (today you go through and tomorrow, it’s my turn). Forgive because you too will need forgiveness. If you want to be selfish – do it for yourself. It’s the only way you will have freedom and peace of mind.