Most of us would be seized with fear if our bodies went numb, and would do everything possible to avoid it, yet we take no interest at all in the numbing of our souls.
If someone tells you to carry a sack of soil, 5 pounds in weight, on your shoulders, would you be willing to do that for the rest of your life without ever taking a break to put it down?
Then why do we carry the burden of our emotions and drag them with us all our lives? Why is it so hard to forgive others and move on?
I remember the headlines breaking on the news some time back:
Brandt Jean’s Act Of Grace Toward His Brother’s Killer Sparks A Debate Over Forgiving
As I sat back and stared at the screen my mind went numb thinking what is this man doing? Is he in his sane mind? How could he forgive such a heinous act? She took a life. She must not be forgiven.
It took me a while to adjust to the fact. But the hug never made any sense. Until later in life when I had to forgive other people in my life who never even cared to apologize. It wasn’t until then that I realized that day Brandt didn’t forgive her, he actually forgave himself.
He went home without the heavy sack of remorse, resentment, and loss of his brother. He went home at peace, embarking on his journey as a free soul.
‘I forgive you.’ Those three words changed lives that day.
Forgiveness can change your life too.
How to Forgive Others and Move on in Life
#1 Get Unstuck
Bottled up emotions are nothing but a cage. Whenever you feel like living a moment and enjoying life as it is, these bottled up emotions will remind you of your pain. They won’t let you take the essence of life. Forgiving will get you unstuck.
Believe me when I say nothing sucks more than being stuck in life. I personally believe that it is your right to yourself to get you unstuck whenever you get stuck in life. It’s just one of those things you have to do for yourself. Just like self-love and self-care, you have to put effort to forgive others and move ahead. Life is another name of moving on.
#2 Remember that Forgiveness is Liberating
I recently started interacting with an amazing lady. Although she is 85 years of age her lifestyle reflects her sophistication. Her life seemed anything but perfection on the outside. But as our interaction increased, I realized what a depressed soul she was on the inside.
I had to ask her, when did you start living in this mental space? Her replies were always the same, ‘I was always like that.’ I emphasized that wasn’t the case. We are not born depressed souls.
One day she finally decided to open up. It was her husband who left her to start another family 60 years back with 3 kids to take care of on her own.
I asked her the simple but dreaded question, ‘Did you try to forgive him?’
She stared back at me in oblivion. It wasn’t the first time she came across the fact that she should forgive him for her own good. It wasn’t. But at that moment she realized another profound truth. She was carrying this weight on her back for decades.
When she finally decided it was time she will forgive him for her own good, she just had one word to say. Freedom.
Forgiveness is liberating.
#3 Forgiveness is for you
I’ve already hinted that forgiveness is not something you give to others, even though on the outset it might feel so. Forgiveness is something you give to yourself. Consider it a trade. You trade peace for anger, disappointment, sadness, embarrassment.
Forgiveness is for you. I remember a dear friend of mine who was happy at her ex-boss being fired from her job. Why? Because she gave her a tough time when she was under her.
I wanted to shake my friend and ask her. You carried it inside of you all this time? It was years back. She now had a better job and a better work environment.
If only she had forgiven her for whatever happened and moved on, she would have focused on her life. On her happiness.
Life is not just about great victories, great achievements, and grand events. It’s mostly about smaller things. It’s about our everyday joy, our peace and it’s about how present you are in the moment.
You not forgiving others doesn’t hurt them. That is true. You might wait on someone’s misery for life but never see it happening. Leave that on God. Revenge will never bring you peace.
Remember, someone’s suffering doesn’t change your situation but your suffering sure does.
#4 Forgiveness is a Journey
You might be tempted to think okay I’m ready to forgive and move on. This point on, nothing associated with that person/event is going to affect me in any way.
There is no switch that will do that because forgiveness is not a moment it’s a journey. Your situation will start getting better the day you decide to forgive but that’s not it. You will have to put in effort and work because the resentment that was built over years will take some time to clear.
Be patient with yourself in your journey. It might not be easy but it is definitely fulfilling. Remember, nothing that costs you your peace is worth keeping. Discard these emotions to make space for new and better ones.
There is a lot of good happening around you, but you are missing out on it because of these clouds of sentiments that are lurking on you 24/7.
Before you leave, here is a recap of what you need to do in order to finally forgive and move on:
- Make effort to put down the extra weight you are carrying.
- Find freedom in forgiveness. Liberate yourself by forgiving others. It takes time but it’s worth it.
- Leave the revenge part to God and don’t wait for it to happen. What goes around comes back around but sometimes you don’t see it.
- Don’t let anything stop you. Brandt didn’t refrain from forgiving the murderer of his brother. What’s your excuse? Do it for yourself if not for them.
- Embark on the journey. Get your hands back on your peace. Everything will settle. Believe me.
Get this weight off you and let me know how you feel once you embark on your journey towards forgiveness.
Are you ready to forgive?
Did you like this post?
Won’t you send it to someone who really needs it?
Check out this week’s podcast on ‘How to Forgive Yourself the Right Way’ with guest Abigail McNeil of forgivinggifts.com.