Forgiveness can sometimes be one of the toughest traits to master. Different life scenarios require some level of forgiveness in a day – like forgiving a driver who almost bashed your car in traffic or a co-worker throwing you under the bus at work or someone bumping into you. For situations like this, you can decide to maintain the act of calmness and make conscious efforts not to allow them to get to you. However, some hurt runs deep and forgiveness becomes laboured.
I would know this because of a situation I found myself in 11 years ago. My best friend had just gotten a good paying job and he was constantly busy. My calls were either missed or he had little or no time to talk. We had a fight one day (I can’t remember what it was about now) and I promised myself I wasn’t going to call him to resolve it. To me as that then my decision was a logical one. The fight went on for about two weeks, by the second week I had a very strong urge in my spirit to call him to resolve our fight but I kept fighting it. Close to the end of the week, on a Thursday by 8 pm I was going to dial his number but pride, I said to myself “why do I always have to be the matured one that resolves arguments and says sorry?”
Three days after, I got a call, my best friend had passed away that Thursday night and his family members had buried him immediately. The times we spent together flashed through my mind’s eye and I couldn’t believe unforgiveness had cost me a chance to hear his voice one more time. Ultimately, unforgiveness had cost me saying goodbye to him. I don’t know how I went through that period and I can’t confidently say that I have gone through all the phases of grieving because I still have flashbacks and it still hurts when I do.
However, I can say the experience taught me some things about the art of forgiveness;
Forgiving someone doesn’t take away my power:
It is only my pride/ego talking when I feel like if I forgive someone it takes my power away. When I choose to forgive somebody, I am actually regaining my power by releasing what they did to me from my subconsciousness and in that way, it no longer subtly affects me – psychologically.
Forgiveness brings about a release of energy:
Anger and resentment consume a lot of energy to harbour, which can make one less productive if care is not taking. Ever wondered why when you forgive someone and it feels like a heavy weight is lifted off your shoulders? – Well, it is because anger and resentment no longer drain you of your energy.
Forgiveness is a gift:
You shouldn’t forgive someone because you expect them to make it up to you. I should forgive and have no expectations. Forgiveness is a gift and when you truly give someone a gift you don’t expect something in return.
Forgiveness doesn’t equate enablement:
11 years ago I thought forgiving was the same thing as allowing people to hurt me. I have come to realise I can forgive someone and acknowledge the fact that what they did wasn’t okay.
You don’t have to know the reasons why before you forgive:
You don’t have to wait until you understand why somebody did what they did before you forgive them. The truth is everyone has different life principles and because you consider something wrong doesn’t mean it is wrong and unacceptable to other people. Remember that when you forgive, you aren’t asking for anything in return—including an explanation.
You might have to forgive more than once:
You might have to forgive people more than once and that doesn’t make you the fool it is just that sometimes people never learn from there mistakes. So you cannot forgive with the condition they don’t repeat their actions. True forgiveness is unconditional. However, you can decide to do away with such people but forgive them before you do.
Believe in paying it forward:
Consider forgiveness an act of paying it forward. Perhaps someone will forgive you one day. Perhaps even this person you are forgiving now will remember this, and be in a position to forgive you one day.
I hope you will decide to choose forgiveness today and always! Have a fab day!
Written by Oluwayomi for Diaryofanaijagirl.