3 Secrets (No One Tells You) About Forgiveness
To forgive or not to forgive.
Have you ever held onto pain inflicted by someone you love? Maybe it was dealt by an ex-boyfriend or husband, or maybe a parent or child.
On another level, I’m amazed with the family members of those killed in Charleston, South Carolina who spoke out to say that they forgave the murderer.
How did they do that? More to the point, why did they do that?
Here are 3 secrets about forgiveness that we just don’t talk about.
1. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you forget about it.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you just forget what happened. In some cases, remembering keeps us from making the same mistakes. Remember that person who lied to you? You can forgive them for the lying, but you’ll remember it. You’ll know that they aren’t so trustworthy, and you’ll think twice before believing what they say to you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’re saying what they did was okay either. For example, sometimes I want to throw a wrench at someone who lies to me. But I don’t because it’s not nice (also, it’s illegal).
If the person who lied to you doesn’t understand that they are a liar, no amount of wrench throwing or yelling will help them understand. If they’re a liar, they’re a liar. Simple as that. No need for you to be angry. It’ll just make you bitter.
And if you keep tensing up each time you replay that story in your head, you may want to click here to get 10 Mental Tricks to Destress Instantly. You won’t regret it.
2. Forgiveness isn’t just for others.
We need to forgive ourselves too. Each of us makes mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes. Maybe you dated someone you knew wasn’t right for you, and it ended in a hot mess. Maybe you skipped yoga. Maybe you spent all your time last night eating cheesy potato chips and binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Okay, binge-watching Buffy is never a mistake.)
We learn from our mistakes. If we acknowledge and forgive ourselves for those mistakes, then we can take what we learned and move on with awareness. We’ll know to back away slowly from the guy that isn’t good for us or put down the potato chips and go to yoga.
There’s no use beating ourselves up over these things. It’s all fixable. It’s not the end of the world. The sooner we forgive ourselves, the sooner we can recommit to doing the right thing.
3. Forgiveness is all about you.
Lama Marut teaches that forgiveness is a unilateral and preemptive act by the offended party. That’s a lovely way of saying that forgiveness is really all about you.
When people forgive others for unspeakable acts, they understand that forgiveness is the only way to begin the healing process. They don’t need the other person to hear that they are forgiven.
You see, when you don’t forgive, the pain eats at you like a cancer. You replay the hurt in your mind over and over until it’s all you think about. Holding on to pain makes you bitter and hard inside. On the other hand, starting the process of letting go feels like someone took something heavy off your chest.
You may never forget what happened, but beginning the healing process of forgiveness asserts your strength and let’s your brain know that it’s okay — you will be happy again.
Founder & Work in Progress
Sicilian Tea Company
P.S. Now it’s your turn. Is there someone you can forgive to bring yourself more happiness? Comment below.