Monday, December 10, 2012

I May Never Forget, But I Can Forgive

As the year is about to end, I am making a conscious decision to tie  up my loose ends and hopefully close up some old wounds.  This way, I get to have a clean and a fresh start when I face the new year.... A brand new me, braving the new year, forgiving and forgetting all the hurts in the past.

Forgive and forget.  Is it possible?  I have read that the human mind can record up to 8 hundred memories per second and store the most significant of those memories for a lifetime.  It is therefore impossible to forgive and forget.  However, forgetting is not required for healing or forgiveness. What is needed is the decision to stop reliving the painful memories of the past. 

Putting in to words sounds so easy.  Actually doing it comes the difficult part.  But it is more difficult in the long run and even more debilitating to succumb to our emotions and hold on to pain, bitterness, hostility and unforgiveness.

To forgive is to deny that blaring emotions deep inside.  To forgive is to fight that feeling of anger exploding within.  To forgive is to discount that feeling of bitterness that you feel.  And when you are at the height of your emotions, admit it, it is easier to yield to hostility than maintaining amity and world peace.

However, if you dwell on these negative emotions, they take root and grow.  Soon enough, you find yourself swallowed by your own resentment or sense of injustice. Your life might become so wrapped up in the wrong that it blinds your vision to enjoy the present and steal your joy.

Some people think that unforgiveness punishes the offender.  It does not.  Forgiveness is not for the benefit of the person who hurt you.  Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.  Through it, you unhook yourself from the past and free your soul to escape the dismal and experience the delightful again.

Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision of the will. The feeling comes after we make the decision – maybe just a moment later, or maybe years later.  It takes time for us to work through our anger and resentment.  Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change.

Forgiveness does not erase the pain.  Forgiveness does not bring back the past.  Forgiveness does not minimize or justify the wrong.  Forgiveness cannot even take away the consequences of the wrongdoing. But forgiveness is essential to the healing of the heart. To forgive is to let go of pain.

By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace hope, gratitude and joy. When you forgive, you let go of grudges and bitterness and make room for peace, kindness and compassion.

We forgive because the other person needs is.  We forgive, because we need it too. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

We may not forget, but we can forgive.  You know you have forgiven if you remember the situation, but it has lost its power to bring you pain.  You know you have forgiven, when you think of the person and from the bottom of you heart, you genuinely wish that person well.

To those, I have hurt this year and in the years past, I am genuinely sorry.  To those who have hurt me and in the years past, I forgive you.   

To myself, I forgive you too.  Don't beat yourself of your mistakes.  Enough of the what ifs, could have or should have.  Time now to focus on what is, what should and what will be.