Over the years forgiveness has been a big theme in my life. Forgiving myself and people I love. Over and over again. I heard a quote once that basically says holding a grudge is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die. Read that again. Wow.
Staying upset with someone is negative and negative energy is toxic. We know that. I know that. Still it’s really hard to forgive someone that hurt you, knowingly and without an apology sometimes. For me, most times. Really hard. So how do we get it done?
Here’s what I know…
- It’s usually (and by usually I really mean always) not about you. How someone treats you is about them. We spend so much energy wondering why the person we love would hurt us. What did we do? That holds us up on forgiving. It’s not about you. It’s about them. Happy people don’t cause pain. Something is broken. Forgive them because they must be hurting too. Then walk away.
- Forgive yourself. You have made mistakes. Maybe really gigantic ones that caused pain to people you adore. Are you sorry? Have you learned from those mistakes? Have you done better since then? Have you healed? Have you apologized? If yes, then forgive yourself. When we are right with ourselves, when we can make peace inside ourselves, forgiveness for others is more accessible.
- Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving is not accepting. Forgiving is not saying what hurt you is ok. It doesn’t mean things go back to the way they were. Maybe you never speak again. Whatever feels right. Forgiving is acknowledging what hurt you and then putting it down. It’s laying down your disappointment, your anger, your pain and walking away from it. It’s not allowing it to keep hurting. It’s for you. It’s not swallowing the poison.
- Lastly, you did not deserve it. Period. I don’t care what you did over the years leading up to this, it doesn’t matter. You deserve to be loved and respected. You deserve honesty and loyalty. You deserve to be trusted and forgiven. When you believe this you will be able to forgive.
The work to forgive someone else is all about the work to love ourselves. Forgiveness is for you. It’s for your own peace. It’s self care. Love yourself enough to forgive whoever broke your heart. Don’t drink the poison. Have a glass of wine instead.