February 10, 2011
Forgiveness sounds like an easy concept to understand and to pursue—but for all intensive purposes—it’s much harder than you’d believe. Saying you can—and will—forgive someone is different than actually going through the steps and process of the forgiving stages. When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge—or embrace forgiveness and move forward. In order to forgive others you have to be able to forgive yourself. You have to accept the fact that we’re human—we all have faults and make mistakes. You have to let go of your self-anger to self-forgive.

All through middle school I hated myself. I felt like the only thing I was “good” at was making mistakes and failing at anything I tried. I had no self-confidence—sense of worth—and I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t see the reason for me being here. I felt like I had no purpose in this world. The only thing I could do was bottle up all this self-anger because the people you’re supposed to be able to talk—your parents—are the ones who made me feel this way.

My dad was an alcoholic—and angry one at that—so that once he’d had a few drinks he was like a ticking time bomb just waiting for the right spark so that he could “explode”. My brothers and I took the brunt of his explosions. He had this way about him of putting you down and say the most mean and hateful things—and you believe him; you can’t help but think – “You know what? He is right. I am a s***. I am a w****. I am a stupid b****.” I think the reason I was so inclined to believe him for so long was because he was someone close to me; he was my father. I was on a downward spiral from a bad starting point.

It took my years to finally realize that just because he’s my dad—and an adult—doesn’t mean he’s right. I never understood it; why a father would say such things to someone they are supposed to love and care for. I wanted to hate him and hold all this bitter resentment towards him. I felt he didn’t deserve me or my love; that if you wouldn’t change for me and my family then he was worth my time.

But then I started thinking. Maybe my dad couldn’t—wouldn’t—change because he felt like he didn’t deserve to be forgiven. That’s when it hit me. Just because he’d messed up and done some wrong things didn’t mean he didn’t deserve to be forgiven; to get help. That’s when it clicked. I could be the one to help my dad forgive himself—but first—I had to forgive MYSELF.
I had to forgive myself—to let go of my anger, hurt, pain—to love myself and all that I am. I had to understand that what happened wasn’t my fault; that I wasn’t the cause of all my dad’s anger. Only then was I able to grow into the person I am today; only then are you able to start on the path of truly forgiving others.

Forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

It seems impossible to be able to forgive someone who has wronged you until you get put in the situation where you can either forgive them or you can continue to hate them for what they did. The situation I was in give me the choice of either forgiving my dad and moving on or letting all the bad mojo fester inside me—let it control me and who I’d grow up to be. Bryant McGill once said – “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”

By forgiving someone you can’t dwell on the past—on what they did to hurt you; or cause you pain. I was emotionally, mentally, and physically scarred by the purpose that hurt me—but I understand and comprehend the fact that this person needs forgiveness and help in becoming a better person. Forgiveness seems like an impossible concept to follow, but if your heart is in it—and you truly believe the person is able to change—then don’t let the anger cloud your judgment. By forgiving you are growing into an amazing human being.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback