Riding in circles of animosity
You’re riding down a trail and you get a flat tire, what’s your next move? Do you stop and take a moment to fix it or do you get angry, keep riding and blame whatever gave you the puncture for slowing you down, ruining your ride and destroying your rim?
So often in life people hurt each other, and then carry a heavy burden of bitterness that consumes their heart. And if forgiveness does cross their mind, they often say the offender deserves it, I’m not apologizing until they do or I can’t let them win.
Release the brakes
When you clench your brakes, you’re not progressing and you become stuck. Guess what, no one other than you is holding you back and causing you stress. That rock ‘ain’t movin’ as much as you think it should. The same is true for holding grudges…
The common misconception about forgiveness is that you do it for the other person. Forgiveness is actually for you. When you stop resisting and clenching your stubborn little fists, you’re able to release the tension and roll on with your life.
Forgiveness will bring you peace and feelings of empowerment. You’ll no longer desperately need to change the behaviour of the other person and you’ll begin to hold the power in your own well-being. It’s hard to accept that our feelings of hurt, anger or revenge are always ours to choose, but when we accept what is—including our own role in a painful situation—you open yourself up to inner peace, deep healing and exponential growth
Must we wait until a friend or loved one is dying for all our quibbles to fall away? Forgiving doesn’t mean we condone their behaviour or that is doesn’t hurt. It means that you find it in your heart to give the person another chance. It means opening your mind and your heart, and understanding that fear and suffering are experienced by all of us.
True forgiveness involves mindfully seeing imperfections as trail markers of the work-in-progress that we all are, rather than as impediments to connection, love or happiness—Slow down, understand, and then move forward. Forgiveness is what leads us back to ourselves.
Just like the sun’s warmth, when we forgive without condition, the cold, tight places where we’re closed off begin to open up and relax. As you feel forgiveness sweep over you, your deepest, darkest wounds begin to come to the surface and heal.
“As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind, I would still be in prison.” —Nelson Mandela