Today I want us to talk about something that we all struggle with but should be doing more often- FORGIVENESS. You know generally as human beings we are flawed. No one is perfect and, in our interactions, we inevitably do or say things that hurt one another. I think we can comfortably say that we have ALL at one time or another been on either side of forgiveness, that is we’ve needed to be forgiven or to forgive. For those of us who are Christians, the bible says that we should forgive 70*7 times and even the Lord’s prayer mentions forgiveness and being forgiven but how often do we practice it, and how does lack of forgiving affect our lives.
Personally, I am a strong believer in forgiving with no limit. Don’t get me wrong, I get hurt and may even react to someone treating me badly or talking ill of me and will possibly chew on it for a while but I usually find it so easy in my heart to forgive and every time I do, I feel much better, like a burden has been lifted. It is inferred that forgiveness is normally for you, the person who is hurt, and I agree. You find that whenever you are carrying a grudge you are not at peace, you walk around carrying such heaviness in your heart, God forbid you to meet the person who has hurt you and your heart darkens even further. You carry along with bitterness and this projects in other aspects of your life and even on the people around you. If you are a parent you find yourself snapping on your kids over things you wouldn’t ordinarily react that way to. You overreact over things that ordinarily wouldn’t spook you, are generally easily irritable and unhappy. Guess what, most of the time the person who has hurt you is going about their business without a care in the world, their lives moving on happily. Worse still, if they are a toxic person they probably feed off that energy and celebrate the power they have over you.
Forgiveness in families
What’s interesting is sometimes we carry grudges or dislike other people based on other people’s experiences other than our own. You find that just because your pal is not on good terms with another say, mutual friend, they expect you to also hold a grudge. I say no to that! unless it is a unique situation where that person’s actions are really horrible and affect your friendship deeply, and even then, I say forgive but distance yourself from such a relationship.?” Another case is for instance with extended families. You find historical grudges, that go way back and no one even remembers what the original grudge was. You are born and you find your family not in terms with another yet not even your parents cannot point out why y’all are not talking. True story, my dads’ side of the family was like this some years back, there was so much tension and grudges held amongst us yet no one knew why there were issues. Some of the reasons given for the grudges were ridiculous, to say the least Luckily that turned around after the unfortunate passing of one of our aunties and our generation came together and we said no, I am not going to not like my cousin, coz our parents have issues, let them sort their issues out and maybe my closeness with this cousin might even mend the broken relationship. With time we have slowly been building these relations through constant get-togethers, involving one another in our milestones, talking openly about the need to forgive and we have become closer. Though again, life’s a journey and issues may emerge from time to time but what matters is the goodwill to resolve, forgive and push forward.
Learn from Situations
My personal mantra about forgiveness especially when it comes to bad actions from people around me is I forgive but not blindly, I always strive to learn lessons from the situation. So for instance if someone has used personal information I gave them and twisted it to get a juicy story to spread out there, I will possibly confront them and tell them that’s not cool, in a civil manner, then I will forgive but then I will know not to share personal information with that person in the future. Forgiveness does not mean that you entertain toxic and negative people in your life. Not at all! You’ve got to protect your space and know who or what is good for you. Remember we are working towards living a positive life and part of it is being aware of what’s good and how you curate your environment to support your journey. Let us also avoid making assumptions. If you aren’t sure, please ask. You might be carrying baggage over a misunderstanding that can be easily cleared. Some relationships are valuable and worth fighting for so sometimes talking it out helps people realize their contributions to a conflict.
When you are the one seeking forgiveness!
Now the spin-off, let’s talk about when it is you who has messed up and needs to be forgiven. Truth be told, we are not always the best and for one reason or the other we end up hurting people around us. How do you go about it? For me, the older I get, and the more intentional I am about self-awareness and mindfulness, once I realize I have hurt someone I take responsibility and get proactive in acknowledging my flaws and seeking forgiveness. But for this to work, you’ve got to be very open-minded and be ready to accept feedback, even if it’s not pleasant to receive feedback on your weaknesses, it is those moments that actually make you grow into a better person. And guys, life is a journey and each waking moment is an opportunity to be better so embrace such moments. you may also be forgiven but lose a treasured connection or friendship, sometimes those tough lessons are the consequences we must face in our growth journey. When this happens, make sure the lesson sticks otherwise it will be all in vain!
Those are my thoughts on forgiveness and how liberating it is to not carry grudges, no matter how hurt you feel from other people’s actions. But most importantly being aware that your actions could also be hurting others and what you do with that awareness really contributes to living a positive life. How do you go about forgiving and seeking forgiveness?