I’ve been on a conscious journey of growth the past five months. I say conscious because we all grow and evolve naturally, but there is a different growth that comes with the decision to change.
I’ve found that a fundamental piece of growth is forgiveness. I’ve heard this concept before, but never really understood the depth of it until I actually wanted to see concrete change in myself.
Forgiveness is hard for me. I have the ability to move on and not let something effect me, but I struggle with the actual forgiveness part. I can go a month without thinking about the issue, but the minute it comes up, I’m hurt or angry again.
I take betrayal and loyalty very seriously. When someone hurts me, it gets personal and I don’t know how to let it go. I always looked at forgiveness as a sign of telling the other person that what they’ve done is ok.
For example, I had a friend while living in California. It was a complicated situation where I was unsure that I could give this person the relationship that they wanted. I felt the only way I could know if a relationship could happen between us was if we spent consistent time together (logical). This person travels for work frequently, which made it difficult to really assess our situation. They told me they wanted the opportunity so badly that they promised to stay in Los Angeles if I gave them a chance. This was a big commitment, which made me think the feeling were equally big. Offering something like this made me want to give them an opportunity.
As soon as I agreed, the person took a job in Florida. They did not talk to me about the opportunity, why they took the job, or what it meant for us. They simply took the job and told me later.
When someone does this, it breaks all trust. It does not matter how big or small the promise is. Betrayal is betrayal. It’s all personal to me.
I should have known this person was not trust worthy, but I gave them another chance to stay in my life. After all, people make mistakes, right?
Anytime I had to trust the person, I would make it known that I did not. Anytime they would give me their word, they would break it. Our dynamic got worse.
The resentment built up. The mistrust got worse. I became angry. I hated how this person treated me and I felt the need to let them know any chance I got.
There was no way I could forgive them. If I told them that I forgave them, that meant what they did was okay. That was how I viewed forgiveness at the time. It meant that someone could do whatever they wanted to me and I would let it go. As if they could cause pain and I would wash it all away with forgiveness.
That is not true. Forgiveness means that someone made a mistake or not a mistake and you decide to let go of the anger that, that mistake caused.
The thing I have had to learn about forgiveness is that it is truly for yourself. You cannot be happy when you are caring around the hurt and pain that everyone has given you. Forgive them, let it go, and move on.
Forgiveness does not have to mean you allow the person to stay in your life. Forgiveness means that what they did is done. The situation and the emotions attached to it no longer exists in your life. What you do with the friendship or relationship after that is totally up to you.
To the person that hurt me many times, I forgive you. Not because what you did was okay, but because I want to be a happier person.
Thank you for teaching me that I have no room in my life to dwell on the past hurt that we caused. Thank you for teaching me the purpose of forgiveness.