#SageSundays Read This if You're Having Trouble Forgiving...
Listen, I done heard every cliché that exists about forgiveness.
"Forgive and let that hurt go", "If you don't forgive, you're blocking your blessings," are just a few adages and pieces of advice that grind my gears with a purple passion. Mostly because I’ve scoured my way through the literature. I’ve read every blog post about letting go of anger. I’ve written down Buddha quotes and stuck them on post-its to my wall. I know that no part of it is simple or easy. I know the adages are tired. I know the gap between “Deciding to forgive” and actually feeling peace can seem entirely unbridgeable. I know.
Forgiveness is a vast, unpassable land for those of us who crave justice or some sort of closure. The very thought of letting someone walk away scot-free from what they’ve done makes us sick. We don’t want to simply wipe our hands clean. We want to transfer the blood onto to theirs. We want to see the scores evened and the playing field leveled. We want them to bear the weight of what they’ve done, not us. oh! not us...
Forgiveness seems like the ultimate betrayal of yourself. You don’t want to give up the fight for justice after what has happened to you. The anger is burning inside you and pumping toxicity throughout your system. You know that, but you can’t let it go. The anger is as inseparable a part of you as your heart or mind or lungs. I know the feeling. I know the second heartbeat that is fury.
But here’s the thing about anger: it’s an instrumental emotion. We stay angry because we want justice. Because we think it’s useful. Because we assume that the angrier we are, the more change we will be capable of incurring... Anger doesn’t realize that the past is over and the damage has been done. It tells you that vengeance will fix things. It’s on the pursuit of justice.
We want the release. We want the madness in our noggins' to quiet down, and yet we cannot find a way to get there.
Because here’s what they all fail to tell you about forgiveness: It’s not going to fix anything.
I'll repeat it again for those who didn't quite catch it the first time: Forgiving is not going to fix anything.
It’s not an eraser that will wipe away the pain of what’s happened to you. It does not undo the pain that you’ve been living with and grant you immediate peace. Finding peace is a long, uphill battle. Forgiveness is just a drink you swallow to stay hydrated along the way.
So, what does that mean Sage?
It means that forgiveness is knowing that the past is over, the dust has settled and the destruction left in its wake can never be reconstructed to resemble what it was. It’s accepting that there’s no magic solution to the damage that’s been caused. It’s the realization that as unfair as the hurricane was, you still have to live in its city of ruins. And no amount of anger is going to reconstruct that city. You have to do it yourself baby girl.
And it means accepting responsibility – not for causing the destruction, but for cleaning it up. It’s the decision that restoring your own peace is finally a bigger priority than disrupting someone else’s.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to make amends with who hurt you. It doesn’t mean befriending them, sympathizing with them or validating what they have done to you. It just means accepting that they’ve left a mark on you. And that for better or for worse, that mark is now your burden to bear.
Forgiveness isn’t about letting injustice reign. It’s about creating your own justice, your own karma and your own destiny. It’s about getting back onto your feet and deciding that the rest of your life isn’t going to be miserable because of what happened to you. It means walking bravely into the future, with every scar sketched across your face and hands and every callous on your foot that you’ve incurred along the way. Forgiveness means saying that you’re not going to let what happened to you define you any longer.
Forgiveness is a prevalent theme in my #BetweenLoveSeries. Mostly because, even after writing this article, I've still got an uphill battle to go to fully shake the anger off. Because if you don't, that anger will fester. So, I ask you today...how have you healed yourself?
Feel free to comment below and as always, this is a judgment-free zone. I LIFE you!
Photo credit: Pinterest (Tracylynne)