Lewis B. Smedes
Last night over wine on my patio one of the Entrepregeurls (see my page Kitchen Table Talk for explanation) and I had a very interesting and enlightening conversation. She is a wonderful friend whose wisdom and caring always touches me, comforts me and encourages me. Last night we talked of many important things but one in particular stayed with me and I want to write about it.
It's often difficult and it takes time to forgive depending on the action begging forgiveness. It can be something as small as someone pulling in front of you in traffic or as large as infidelity, divorce or emotional or physical abuse in your past experiences. Large or small, not being able or not choosing to forgive takes a greater toll on you than it does the perpetrator.
So what I'm suggesting is as quickly as you can forgive the person who cut you off in traffic, the rude sales person or the neighbor who is setting off fireworks at midnight when you're trying to sleep (it's July 3rd) the healthier it will be for you. Holding on to resentment, anger and hurt drags you down. Those are heavy burdens. It's negative energy that lessens your ability to enjoy life. Lighten your load. Set those burdens down. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness.
Often the feelings of hurt or betrayal are so deep they are too big to handle on one's own and need to be discussed with a professional. And you may never forget but it may be possible to forgive.
Sometimes it helps me to empathize with the person who has annoyed or hurt me. When it's possible, try to see that it may have been an inadvertent slight or that person was having a bad day and you happened to walk into their mess. With the people closest to us we can often see that their wounding of us comes more from their own feelings of pain or unworthiness. They did not deal with their own pain and it spilled over and hurt someone else.
It was not intentional. One does wish we could all be so self-aware that we never hurt others with our unfinished business. We can work on it.
For the smaller transgressions, the ones that don't alter our lives one way or another, I say, "Give it up!" Forgive quickly and completely and move on.
I want to end with, forgive ourselves. When we don't quite measure up to our own expectations...forgive. When we don't always say or do the right thing...forgive. When we let ourselves or someone else down...forgive and try to do better next time.
That's what my dear friend and I did on a warm July night over wine on the patio.