During the last two weeks we have seen two amazing women – who have shown how forgiveness can enrich our lives. Both Malala and Maureen Greaves both had reason to despise their attackers who turned their world upside down. Both of them had been involved in events that were brutal and mentally damaging. Yet both of them have publicly announced that they forgive their perpetrators. Forgiveness shows immense strength and are true role models for our children.
Forgiveness sets us free
Often when we have conflict with someone, we can distance ourselves, but often the resentment remains with us. Bitterness prevents us from moving on and inhibits the creation of real connections with ourselves.
We become vulnerable. Our attitude becomes a barrier for our everyday life. The anger and resentment overtakes and you will always be the victim. It’s important that we learn how to forgive. The journey might be tough (and does not necessarily prevent the memories), but forgiveness brings inner peace.
- Forgiveness releases you from the pain of the past. Forgiveness is not about ‘giving in’, but learning how to let go of all the hurt and negative feelings. It is not letting the other person off the hook, but getting yourself off the hook. You are not seeking permission for forgiveness or a need to earn it. Choosing to forgive can create a sense of power within you.
- When we resent someone we are full of negative thoughts and feelings. It would be beneficial to talk through with a close friend or counsellor to help identify your negative feelings. This will help you to bring out all of your anger, sadness and resentment and let you begin to make sense of what has happened. This is not an easy step to take but being aware of the emotions is important. You will find that you slowly stop being emotionally tied to the person who has hurt you.
- Reconciliation with the person may be a way of helping you learn to forgive. However, confrontation is not always necessary. You can do forgiveness on your own. You need to dig deeper into your heart and reconcile with yourself. This will stop you mentally fighting with that person. You might start seeing things through a different lens, gaining new perspective, understanding and learning.
- Forgiveness is not about forgetting but being able to remember wisely. It’s a mistake to assume that forgiving means we have to forget. We cannot forget hurt, nor should we. Such experiences provide us with the wisdom to avoid similar situations in the future.
Do you hold resentment for anyone? What steps will you take to forgive them?
“Forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins” Fredrick Buechner