This week my mind had been playing on some things. I have been at a mad pace rushing from one place to the other, but as soon as I came to a halt I started brooding over this topic again – forgiveness.
As most of my readers will know from my earlier posts, I have been through some rather difficult and challenging transitions over the past year. I have overcome so many things, but there were certain things that I could not let go.
For the past 6 months I was angry and disgruntled at a few people whom had been part of my life over the past few years. People who grew on me and made me feel that they were my friends. Who allowed me to feel at ease and comfortable with them. Who made me feel that I can trust them with anything I tell them. People I was a 100% convinced would support me in the good and the very worst and darkest of times, no matter what. Who will understand my weaknesses and flaws, just as much as I understood theirs. Who would support me and be understanding of the trials I had been going through. People whose opinion about me mattered to me, people who I opened my heart to when I naturally won’t let just anyone in.
But…they were not there for me. Instead they pushed me away. This made me upset, angry and deeply dissapointed in the people I thought I knew well.
It came to a stage where irreversible things were said, attitudes towards each other changed, bad mouthing, opinions about one another changed (forever). Finding fault in everything the other one is saying and doing. And so the friendships deteriorated.
I felt so let down but also so angry. As I tried to forget, I could not forgive. I couldn’t let it go. I managed to eventually block it out of my mind and convince myself that I have forgiven and moved on from it, but somehow it all crept up in my dreams last week. Clearly I am still brooding over it…
I started praying about it. I asked God why can’t I forgive and let it go, why am I still thinking about things when I have left the situation and people behind and moved on with my life. And the answer came almost instantly “because Elize, you first need to forgive yourself”… It’s true. I am also angry at myself about a lot of things. I am guilty of a lot that had happened. But I learned – I learned some pretty damn hard but valuable lessons.
For a long time I blamed myself for EVERYTHING that’s happened and had been said. “It’s all your fault Elize, you ruined everyone’s lives” Until the time when I had an anxiety attack some months ago. As I was lying in my bed that morning, with no will to get up, I came to realise one thing happens before we forgive someone – they become an enemy in our minds. Everything about them disgusts us and we hate their guts, we forget all the wonderful things they have done for us previously. We focus on just how much we despise them now because it makes us feel better and less hurt. We overthink things and let it escalate into something much worse in our minds.
Over the past 6 months I have apologised to quite a number of people whom I have hurt with my words or my actions. And it took guts. See naturally I am the defensive type and will rather have a “reason” or excuse for saying the things I say. But on these occasions I wanted to say sorry because I felt guilty and dissapointed in myself for the hurt I caused. And I really meant every word I said in my apologies. Whether these people had forgiven me I don’t know, but I had to make a point to start forgiving myself for a lot of things too. As long as I hold onto it I will never live my life to the fullest. And this has to change.
So this week, after thinking and praying about it, I started to forgive, letting go of the hurt they have also put me through. And all the other shit that went with it. Because as much as I blame myself in a situation like this, all parties very much were responsible for the way things turned out. Maybe some of us are just better at admitting the part we played in it all than others.
My forgiveness journey is only beginning now. I don’t feel bitter anymore, I don’t feel angry. I feel a little sad about it all to be honest.
I think it’s important that we as humans learn to forgive one another. We need to remember that we all have our faults. When we feel more and more angry at someone it is often times because we have allowed it to escalate into something far worse than it really is. We have, by over thinking it, developed further resentment. And then we hold grudges.
“Until you surrender the need to know why things happened to you as they did, you will hold onto your wounds with intense emotional fire. Your mind will want to heal, but your pride, anger and emotions will remain caught up in wanting to make sure that the people who hurt you are made to feel bad for what they’ve done. The problem with this is, your mind may do what’s required for healing but your heart will never participate in the healing process. Forgiveness is your release from the hell of wanting to know what cannot be known and from wanting to see others suffer because they have hurt you.”
Maybe it is as simple as thinking back and remembering the good things about the people you are trying to forgive. The good times you had as friends. And to appreciate just how good they really were to you before. And I know that the hardest part is to still care about them when you feel so hurt by them.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean inviting them back into your life, but rather to not continue carrying the burden of not forgiving. And sure, you probably won’t ever feel the same about them, but at least you will forgive them and let the hurt go.