Forgiveness

“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.” -Ajahn Chah

Here’s a confession: forgiveness has always been a hard thing for me. I tend to not only not be able to forgive, but it’s also hard for me to forget.

I have a list hanging in my room of 9 things to live by on a daily basis. Number 2 is “Forgive all who harm you.” But I can confidently say that reading that is a whole heck of a lot easier than actually implementing it in my life. It’s easy to let go of the anger at the person who cut you off on the road that one time, or the person at the restaurant that bumped into you and didn’t say “I’m sorry.” What I have a hard time with is true, deep forgiveness for those who have truly, deeply hurt me. Not just once but over and over. Someone that maybe I spent a lot of time with who wronged me in ways I couldn’t have even fathomed. Someone who I loved who hurt me. A friend that betrayed me.

I don’t know if it’s because I feel like forgiving them means I’m giving them a pass for the hurt they caused, that I’m letting them “off the hook” or if there’s more to it than that. But at the same time, I completely realize that the old Buddhist saying that “anger is like drinking poison, expecting it to kill the other person” is true. Holding on to any kind of negative feelings not only doesn’t do anything to the other person, it only hurts us and binds us to them more in the process. So why is it so difficult for me?

For one, I often don’t even know where to start with the forgiveness process. Is it as easy as thinking about the person and saying “I forgive you?” Do you have to repeat that over and over until you finally feel like it’s true? I think like anything, it’s a process. It’s not something that can just happen overnight.

I’ve been taking steps over the past year to work on my ability to forgive and thanks to my friend Dustin, the 3 lists I spoke about before have been a great jumping off point for me. Because not only do I have trouble forgiving others, I have a really hard time forgiving myself too. So writing down not only what I feel like I need to forgive of others but writing down what I need to forgive myself for (which often includes letting the aforementioned people hurt me or even letting them into my life to begin with) is incredibly cathartic.

So this is another “To Be Continued” kind of post. I don’t have a definite answer. I can’t even any offer real words of wisdom of my own. I just know that forgiveness is something that’s worth whatever the process may entail to achieve it. It’s one of the strongest things all of us can do in our lives and like the quote I posted at the beginning of this post said, we can only achieve true peace once we let go of all that hurt and let go of those who caused it. And we all deserve not just a little peace, but a lot!

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4 thoughts on “Forgiveness

  1. Forgiveness is so very important to healing, I am not trying to push my beliefs on anyone but I can tell you that praying for that person works for me. I pray for my enemies and those who have wronged me. Somehow I find peace that way. Good luck..healing begins once we forgive. Great post!

    1. You are so right. I think that’s the hardest part but the part that’s most important: forgiveness leads to healing. Not for the other person but for us! Here’s to healing and thanks for the awesome comment 🙂

  2. Hey there Jackie! I am an OT LLU student, sent to your page by Sharon Pavlovich! I have enjoyed looking at your blogs and learning a little bit more about you. As I read your blogs, I noticed that you seem to be a very reflective person and was wondering if you reference books or various sources to help you as you reflect. If so, can you share them with me?

    I appreciate you genuinely sharing the struggles of forgiveness. It is definitely not simple and something that I have wrestled with much of my life. Here is a quote that I think relates and has helped me take my time as I process forgiveness: “to be patient in a moment of anger is to avoid a hundred years of sorrow”. It is from a buddhist monk who’s name I am struggling to recall. Thanks again for sharing your story!!!

    1. Hi Katie. Thanks so much for the positive feedback! I’ve always kind of been a reflective person. From the time I could write, I always kept a journal. One of my absolute favorite sites is Tiny Buddha. I’ve written a couple of things for them but I’ve been getting their daily emails for a long time and they’ve given me some real “a-ha” moments and things to help improve my attitude. I used to be a very glass half empty person for a long time and I credit Tiny Buddha with a great of my turning into a more positive person. I also follow/read a lot of Buddhist thinkers/monks (so it’s perfect that you shared a Buddhist quote!) The Dalai Lama’s “Art of Happiness” was life changing! I also like Thich Nhat Hanh a lot too. Brene Brown is another one of my favorites. She writes a lot about vulnerability (something I have a lot of trouble with) and shame culture. So those are probably my heavy hitters for reflection inspiration 🙂

      That’s such a great quote too. Another one I like (that I think is also Buddhist) is “being angry is like drinking poison, expecting it to kill the other person.” I’m constantly reminding myself of that but even still, forgiveness really is hard! Have a great weekend!

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