Some years ago I got into a confrontation that escalated so much that when it died down I was left very shaken up about it. I realized that I had carried a lot of pain and hurt inside of me and it had manifested in the ugliest way that I could imagine; it manifested as anger-hot boiling anger and rage. What surprised me about this ugly manifestation was that I really believed that I had come a long way in my evolution as a person-I had invested so much time and effort in my personal development and I believed that I had dug deep and had faced all the things that needed to be faced. Boy, was I wrong!
What I eventually came around to seeing was that yes, I was growing, evolving and developing, but I was also doing a poor job of letting go and forgiving. I realized that I had become a person who held on to things-pain, hurt, resentment and other negative thoughts, emotions and memories that needed to be let go. I realized that I needed to learn how to really forgive.
We often hear that we must “forgive and forget” but the truth is that it is not always so simple and it is not always so easy. In his book, “Forgiveness…the Ultimate Miracle,” Paul J. Meyer explains that many people mistakenly think that forgiveness means approval, or forgetting, or justifying, or something you can be obligated to do, or reconciliation and letting the person who hurt you back in your life-but it is not.
Forgiveness is, among other things, showing mercy, taking responsibility (not blame) and being honest about reality. It is a lifestyle that you choose, no matter what happens or who does what. It doesn’t mean that what happened was right or okay and it doesn’t mean that whoever hurt you is “off the hook”. It means that YOU are off the hook of hate, resentment, bitterness and rage. It means that you choose to be honest about what happened and then let it go.
No one, myself included, does forgiveness perfectly, but understanding what it is and choosing to make it a part of your life is what is important.
As Meyer puts it,
“When forgiveness becomes a habit, it has become a lifestyle. This is a wonderful place to be. You don’t have to weigh each situation and consciously decide if you are going to forgive this time or not. Instead, you move from hurt to healing because it’s what you do. It’s how you choose to live your life.”
I encourage you to adopt a lifestyle of forgiveness. Remember that forgiveness has more to do with you than anything or anyone. When you forgive, you set yourself free and you deserve to be free.
Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter