The Courage to Forgive

Sun ShadowForgiveness has always been a big word for me. Mostly because I’ve always had a hard time with it. I would accept a lot of things from a lot of people until one point. After that point, forgiveness always seemed somehow beyond my reach. At times I’d try to let go, but most of the times, I felt I was in a position of power by holding the wrongdoing over someone’s head forever. As a result, some relationships disappeared, others were never the same, and others got back to a a good place, but I was somehow never the same. I lived in constant fear that the person would hurt me again and little by little I would stop giving all me love, yet I would demand more and more.

The person next to me would live in constant fear of me blaming them for something they did or didn’t do wrong and I lived in a constant insecurity not knowing when the next break down will happen. I would look for reassurances in every corner, yet end up proving myself that I had all the reasons in a world not to trust that person again. There was no win. Of course, the person I had the hardest time forgiving was none other than myself. I could never forgive myself for not being good enough, not being perfect enough, just not living up to some unrealistic expectation I had of myself.

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After years of struggling with this and making people next to me pay a million times for all the tiny sufferings they caused me, I finally got it. Forgiveness wasn’t about them making anything up to me. Forgiveness was about me, about releasing the past and allowing myself to live happily and unconditionally. I know, it’s not rocket science, but for someone who’s always in a quest for perfection,  who probably watched waaaay too many cheesy movies, and who wants to love and trust without ever questioning anything, that was a major breakthrough.

I wasn’t even clear if there was something I was supposed to do or say in order to forgive someone. Did I just decide and then it was all done? For me, it wasn’t that easy. It took a little training as some events from the past would come back and I would have the tendency to rehash so many things, to try to find that proof that never existed. But step by step and day by day, I reminded myself that forgiveness is about me, not about everyone else. And somehow it worked.

Agave

Did I ever get to the point where it comes completely natural as an automatic reaction? I wish I could say yes, but at times I still need to consciously remind myself that it’s all about me, my choices, my decisions, my forgiveness. I owe it to myself and my happiness to forgive and keep walking, to not hold grudges and hold on to resentment.

As for now, I understand what it means to be peaceful and loving no matter what. Some of the people that I forgave have stayed on and become part of my heart, others never really moved from that place of hurt and slowly dwindled away. But the ones who mattered, the ones who wanted to stay and may have made mistakes at times, they’re all still here. It takes a lot of courage to forgive, to get over your ego and understand that the past cannot be changed no matter how much you hold on to it. And what’s even greater about forgiveness is that is shows who you really are and who that other person really is.

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