How To Forgive…Anybody
“To forgive is to set a person free and discover that the person was you”
~ Lewis B. Smedes
By: Kevin Tyler Smith
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I’ve seen my share of emotional hurt at the hand of others over the years. As a result, I have developed a great deal of resentment towards some people.
I think what’s at the core of this resentment is my perception of being disrespected. Because of this, it’s been much harder for me to pardon than to hold a grudge.
The impetus for much of my resentment has been due, in no small part, to stereotyping while being very much the minority in my circle of influence. This is certainly not a recipe for total fairness albeit a perfect cocktail for being a victim of partisan cronyism. The jury is still out on whether any slight toward me has ever been intentional. For the sake of this post, let’s just say most of the past hurts toward me were deliberate.
The caveat to this whole ordeal…being resentful and angry is destroying me. It’s slowly eating away at me and becoming more destructive than the situation itself.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for it to kill your enemy” ~ Nelson Mandela
How can I stop being angry? How can I stop suffering?
A Simple Foundation For Forgiveness
1. Forgive Yourself – Do this first. This is the most important step. How can you expect to forgive someone if you haven’t cleared the air with yourself. You must let go of your own imperfections. Self-forgiveness conditions your own heart with grace as you become more receptive to the act of pardoning. Forgiving yourself is hard at first, but you will find slowly over time, absolving someone else will become much easier, simply because you let go of your own shortcomings.
2. Concede The Past – The Aramaic word for “forgive” means literally to “untie.” Why not untie the bindings and loosen yourself from the ordeal or your perpetrators? Depending on how bad you were hurt, this will take some time. Allow yourself that time but accept the fact that you can’t change what happened. It’s all in the past.
In order for you to get on with your life and recover your serenity, let bygones be bygones. Live in the present and realize you can’t change the past. Time really does heal wounds.
3. Choose A Path Of Benevolence – You have every right to constructively even the score. The best revenge is to choose a path of benevolence. Manifesting benevolence breeds happiness and by moving forward on this path you will show yourself, them and the world that the obstacles they tried to create were not significant enough to destroy you.
When an infraction against us takes place, we automatically think that being miserable is necessary. Letting misery linger is not normal. We only empower the ordeal by continuing to suffer. However, we were not designed to live in angst as studies show one of the keys to our longevity is developing habits of gratitude and letting go of past hurts.
“Hate is like an acid. It destroys the vessel in which it is stored.” ~ Ann Landers
4. Look For The Opportunity – In the face of your struggle, look for the opportunity to:
- View the experience from a new angle. Make a list of 5 positive outcomes from this ordeal.
- Think back to your mentors who have been there in solidarity with you before. Practice what you have learned from them.
- Realize it may not be all about you. It could be that your ordeal was the conduit for someone else to rise to the occasion to be able to help and support you.
The person(s) guilty of any transgression against you may not immediately deserve to be forgiven, but you deserve to be free of the misery it can cause you. Wouldn’t you agree?
Who do you want to forgive?
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