I forgive them. I forgive them without needing them to acknowledge what they did to me. I forgive them without receiving an apology. I forgive them because holding onto anger, resentment, disappointment, and sadness was weighing me down and holding me back. I forgive them because that’s what’s best for me.
For many years, I carried the burden of others ignorance, errors, evil, pain, insecurity, and negativity. When I wasn’t blaming myself for why they treated me badly, I was harboring ill feelings towards them. Internally, I was an emotional wreck so I often sabotaged myself externally. I would allow my bad experiences with a few negatively impact my interactions with many. I would project the pain that one person made me feel onto people who had nothing to do with how I felt. I found myself in a hell I created for myself, but couldn’t see it because I was so busy pointing my finger at the people who “made me this way”. That was until I woke up one day and realized that way of thinking and behaving wasn’t working. I wasn’t happy and I was tired of being bitter and angry. Not to mention, I got no joy from seeing that the grudges I was holding seemed to not be hurting or holding anyone back except me. After years of suffering, I finally made the decision to forgive all of those people, most of which I never received an apology from and likely never will.
These days, I breathe easier and feel lighter. I find myself feeling more grateful than upset about the things people have done that hurt me. I am grateful because even though it was painful, I can see the good that came out of the rejection, abandonment, betrayal, hate, and manipulation I’ve experienced. Although those situations broke me temporarily, they ultimately lead me to discover what it feels like to be made whole by God permanently. Those heartbreaking experiences helped me to shift from seeking validation and support from others to understanding that God’s acceptance and approval is all that I need to be successful. I am clear now that as long as God is pleased with me, I don’t have to worry. Throughout my life, I have had plenty of people do things to discourage, deter, and destroy me, but by God’s grace and favor, I am still standing, growing, and progressing. Realizing that makes me stronger and increases my faith that everyone indeed reaps what they sow and no one can stop my blessings except me. I forgive others the same way I want God, and the people I’ve hurt, to forgive me.
Forgiveness is good for all involved, but it’s really an act of self-love. This is something I see more clearly as I compare the major differences in how I think, feel, and move when I choose forgiveness over holding grudges. Forgiveness allows me to move more freely. Forgiveness allows me to be in the same space with someone who betrayed me without feeling their presence negatively impact my energy. I may not trust them or even like them, but I don’t wish bad on them. I may not offer them another opportunity to hurt me, but I am not losing sleep over them or talking about what they did to me every chance I get. Think of every grudge you carry as a chain holding you to the past. Holding grudges restricts your forward movement. It keeps you stuck in a place that doesn’t make you happy or productive. Forgiveness releases the chain and provides you the freedom to be more focused on the present so that you can create a better future.
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