I’m Still Learning to Forgive

“She sent me this, from your phone.” He looks at me straight-faced, holding his phone, showing me my number and a cryptic message that I never would have written.

I look around in confusion and angst. How could she do that? One of my close friends. Using me to get through to someone she knows trusts me, but had hurt her. An invasion of my private property. Do I just forgive and move on? I ponder this thought in my head. My head hurts.

At the same time someone else I loved deeply is completely out of my life. The life and person I once knew, changed and done, in a snap of a finger. In one conversation.

2658121670_cfb12e33c4I’m circling around a lot of forgiveness. I’m still learning. Usually, I forgive pretty easily. Still, I have a lot of pride and like my sense of strength and independence so when I’m hurt, I’m hurt dammit. I’m Italian and Irish. Straight up.

When I’m lacking this forgiveness it’s derived from resentment. My dad wisely tells me, “holding onto resentment can cause emotional and physical problems to the person that holds onto the resentment.” It does no good. Resenting a person or certain situation does nothing to the person being resented but always damages the person doing the resenting.

Overtime, I’ve seen long term resentment equate bitterness that only continue to dives deeper. When I have forgiven, I am freed from the emotional bond that causes conflict to fester on a deep emotional level.

Catherine Ponder says that “when you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

There are many conditions and levels of experiences to forgive. Often times they caused such deep pain that we may not be able to see the light or want to forgive. People may hold onto resentment and frustration for years. That’s okay, but not forever. When I die, I don’t want to have unfinished business. I want to have forgiven. I want to be honest and let go of the fears that pervaded my mind and heart.

Zen Habits’ letting go and steps to forgive suggests to: commit to letting go, think about the pros and cons, realize you have a choice, empathize, understand your responsibility, focus on the present, allow peace to enter your life and finally, feel compassion. Realize that in forgiveness, you’re allowing yourself to be happy and move on.

The ironic part is that nearly everyone says that even the most difficult situations that have persisted for years can be wiped clean in a matter of seconds with a true act of forgiveness. It is at once the easiest thing to do but before you do it may seem the most difficult.

I’m still learning to forgive, but learning while doing helps me smile and with each little step I feel a little bit better as I begin to let the pieces of pain go.

Have you forgiven someone today? What’s stopping you?

Photo Credit: soot+chalk

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