Here we are again at the dawn of a New Year. I see people scurrying around making plans for a party, a celebration, a gathering, or just planning a quiet evening at home. Whatever you are doing this New Year, take time to release old resentments and old pain. It is a great time of year to forgive, really forgive….including yourself.
Who among us has not righteously held onto ill feelings that we feel are justified towards others because of “what they did” to use or what we PERCEIVED they did to us. I just finished a novel in which a dreadful cascade of events unfurled because of a misperceived action. The female lead in the novel felt she had been unjustly treated but in the end, she so foolishly misread the event that it led to some sad and tragic events in her efforts to seek revenge for an act which had really been one of protection and kindness.
This was a novel, granted, but don’t we always quip “truth is stranger than fiction” or “no one could have made this up for a novel”! Indeed, these things happen regularly on the planet and when our egos get bruised, we tend to want to “win” or seek revenge or set things right.
At any rate, from personal experience I can tell you that it is far better for us to forgive and move on than it is to hold a grudge. The other person is out living their life while we fume and mutter to ourselves how unjust that was! My Mother used to say “Time heals all wounds and wounds all heels.” I hated when she would say that to me. But once I could get my thoughts around a situation in which I felt so wronged, I could finally forgive.
It doesn’t mean that what they did was ok, not at all, but I did realize that people, even I, made mistakes, sometimes very hurtful ones. I never hurt someone on purpose but I know I hurt people, mostly through my naivite, sometimes by neglect or oversight, or simply not knowing what I was doing.
Knowing that I also hurt people made me a bit more tolerant and forgiving of others. And knowing that there is a higher form of justice out there than I could ever dish out also gave me a lot of relief.
I realize that there are dreadful, unspeakable, horrible things that occur. But once they have happened, it is over and no amount of anger, angst, or revenge will take them back. It can take years, YEARS, to work through something like this and to some degree, perhaps we never really work all the way through it to total, complete, heart felt forgiveness. But as we take the time to work through these events, we can lighten the load of our burden by slowly working towards forgiveness. It is a journey, like all of life’s challenges.
Forgiving is hard, but not forgiving is even harder. Walking around with the weight of anger is exhausting and produces nothing. So this New Year, start with an empty cart by forgiving what you can and moving on. Then you can heap all kinds of blessings into that cart….believe me, they weigh nothing while anger, angst, and thoughts of revenge weigh tons. You will lead a better life if you make that choice.
Happy New Year! May all your days be light filled and light!