Forgiveness is not always a gift you give to another person. Often, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. You do not need to forget about the wrongdoing. Rather, don’t place all powerful importance on the mistake. Forgiveness helps someone detach from the hurt, and no longer suffer because of it.
I’d like to write this post about what it means to me to forgive. Broken down, I see it as FOR.GIVE and a way to give back to your emotional, mental and spiritual self. It is a gift, for you — not always for the one who hurt you.
Giving is contributing to yourself and others.
When you give a gift, you are contributing to the greater good of humanity. It does not have to be monetary, it can be volunteering your time, or doing a favor for a friend. So why is the word “give” in forgiveness?
The answer is simple. It is forward giving, moving past the hurt, and treating mistakes as a learning experience. Rather than having an all-or-nothing mentality, you meet a dark moment in another person’s life with a light for them to see with — a goodness that heals your own heart as well.
Forward thinking is moving past the pain.
Focusing on the past and the pain others may have caused you can be draining. Stay in the present by forgiving the past, and your forward thinking will become clear, level, and productive. Moving on is not a bad thing. It is a step onward and upward.
Holding onto pain hurts, especially when it was caused by something (or someone) out of your control. Forgiveness is detaching from the pain, and taking back your control over your feelings. Letting another back into your life can be frightening; sometimes, it just feels easier to shut them out. Moving forward with your attitude does not have to mean condoning hurtful behavior, but it does greatly reduce the stress. Bring your thinking forward, and let go of the attachment to the pain. You will be happier for it.
Together, FOR.GIVE means a gift for you.
Treat yourself to the gift of forgiveness, and find a blissful release of toxic energy. Don’t hold on to the hurt and suffer. Try a prayer for the person whom you resent, or a formal show of forgiveness in person. Remember, it is a gift you give to yourself.
On a personal level, I had a landlord at my apartment who gave me sound advice: pray for the men who sexually assaulted me, and forgive them. I was appalled initially, thinking they deserve no forgiveness, let alone a prayer! But I pondered it, mulled it over, and finally prayed for them. And I found I was accepting of what had happened, yet able to move forward with my own life, and without letting the memory cause me suffering. You don’t have to be religious; even if it is a simple kind thought wishing those who wronged you well, you will give a gift to yourself, for you and from you.
How do you define forgiveness? And how has it helped you move past the pain of being hurt by someone?
Let us forgive each other — only then will we live in peace. — Leo Tolstoy