So, someone hurt you or did something really inconsiderate with no regard for how you would feel about it. Your instinctive reaction might be to immediately cut them off or to hold a grudge. I say that because that’s my instinctive reaction almost every single time. And until recently, I was content with that. I held grudges with the best of them. I blamed people for hurting me, and I made sure that they knew it.
The problem with this is that it truly is only hurting yourself. There was a girl who really hurt me in high school. We were close, we had a falling out, she caused mass collateral damage, and I was left in the ruins of my life. Naturally in high school, I took no blame for the falling out. I blamed her completely for talking about me behind my back, for “stealing all my friends,” for not being affected by our situation like I was. You name it, I pretty much blamed her for it. But you know what? She didn’t care. She went through high school not caring. She went off to college not caring. She moved on with her life, and I hadn’t. Every time I saw her post something on Facebook about how happy she was, how great college was going, how happy she was to be engaged, I rolled my eyes and told anyone who would listen what a bitch I thought she was.
Do you think she was even paying attention to what I was doing and what was going on in my life? There’s no way to know for sure, but I’d wager that no, she didn’t give a rat’s behind what was going on in my life. And that’s fine. Because truthfully, people grow apart. People outgrow other people. People make mistakes and say things they don’t mean. Forgive them for that. Forgive people for the people they were in high school. Forgive people for the people they were in college. Forgive people for the people they were last year. Forgive people for the people they were yesterday.
I am not saying that I will allow negativity to continue to have a place in my life. Especially if that negativity is going to continue to hurt me. I’m not asking you to forget what those people did to you. Remember it, and do not allow them to ever hurt you like that again. But, forgive them. Do not allow yourself to hold hate in your heart for these people. Because by allowing yourself to do that, you’re allowing these people to hurt you again and again. They aren’t going to care if you hate them. They probably won’t even think about what you’re feeling about what happened between the two of you. So, you’re holding this hate and ill will for a person who doesn’t even think twice about what you think or feel about them or anything else.
I have learned a lot in the past year about who I want to be as a person and how to protect and grow my own mental well being, but I truly feel that this is the most important lesson I’ve learned all year. The funniest part of this being that my mom has been trying to teach me this lesson practically my whole life, and I never listened and even told her I couldn’t understand forgiving people who have done me wrong. So, thanks mom for attempting to teach me this and for leading by example. My mother is one of the most forgiving people I’ve ever known, and I’ve always thought that was a weakness on her end. But, I’ve really truthfully learned that this is her greatest strength. So, mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for never listening and taking so long to learn this lesson.
It is a constant theme on social media to be heartless and unforgiving and hold grudges. And that’s all good and nice from the outside looking in. But on the inside, those grudges and that heartlessness are only ever going to hurt you. At the end of the day, people are going to continue to hurt you, but it is up to you how you react to that and how you let it affect you.
So, to the people who have hurt me in the past: I forgive you, and I am so happy that you have found happiness in life. I hope that you can also forgive me for the things I’ve done to you. I’ll remember the things you did to hurt me, but I won’t allow them to affect me or my perception of you.
“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – JFK
thanks for reading, open your heart to forgiveness and healing today