It is oftentimes the hardest things in life that are the most rewarding. Whether it be a test that takes several days to study for that you ace or that car you finally purchase after working doubles back to back—nothing good ever comes easy. One thing in life that is essential to the survival of the self, but is a rather challenging feat is forgiveness. I am not talking about short apologies through text that is merely a subtle, “I’m sorry,” I am talking about true forgiveness.
Forgiveness, although crucial, is not something that comes easy. In fact, reaching forgiveness takes great strength from an individual. We are a protective species and when another person hurts us or someone we love, those protective instincts come out. What is also instinctual is our ability to adapt and adjust, because without that ability we would perish. Forgiveness is a form of adaption and adjustment. We must adapt, or learn to live with what occurred and adjust, or find a new balance that is suitable for survival. I realize that there are certain instances in which forgiveness seems impossible. Sometimes someone can take a person you love out of your life or a person can hurt you so deeply that you can never bounce back to the same person you were before. But if there is one thing that never changes, it is that holding a grudge and hate towards someone will only make you feel worse. Negative energy is like a slowly developing illness. It starts off as something as simple as a scowl, then it turns to dwelling that makes you feel sick to your stomach, then it turns into petty comments made to others, and from there it only gets worse. Holding a grudge will hurt yourself more than the person you are choosing to hold the grudge against and that is something that I can guarantee.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
While forgiveness is important, something that one should never do is forget. Do not forget the wrongs that people have done to you, because that will only lead to history repeating itself and for the same hurt to be brought on your soul. Think back and reflect on possible signs that could have been there, because red flags are often very hidden. Also know that it is not your fault for getting hurt. A good friend once told me that. Being blinded by feelings is not a point of failure, it is a point of being human. I found myself blaming myself for the hurt that others caused me. I told myself that I should have known better and that I saw it coming and should have protected myself—but then I would have stepped away from a part of myself that I do not want to change. I would have stepped away from the part of myself that believes in the good in people and believes in giving people a chance even when you’re unsure. One thing, though, that I have been working on is taking the past and using it to help myself live a better future. I refuse to let myself get hurt again like I have in the past. I will not accept it—but, I will also not close my heart off because no matter what happens I will never stop loving and showing people my love. That is the important thing about the past. It is the past. It can never be undone, and it can never be changed.
The only thing that you can do for the ones that have hurt you is to pray for their growth in all aspects of life. It does not have to be a religious being that you pray to, just address the universe and ask it to guide them in the right direction. Those that hurt us are hurting the most and need the most guidance. I always remind myself that the universe would never send anything my way that the universe knew I could not handle. I could very easily, if I wanted to, not forgive several people in my life. I could go about my day constantly thinking about how certain people did me wrong, but what would be the point of that? As I sit here and dwell, that person goes on about their life and doesn’t think twice about me and my feelings. Instead of not reaching forgiveness, I could take as long as I need to accept what has happened and use the pain that I experienced to become a stronger person. There is no time limit on forgiveness. Some will forgive right away, while others may need some extra time. Never let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t be hurting as much as you are and that you should be healing faster—everyone experiences pain differently.
If I could go back in time and change a few things—I wouldn’t. If I could go back in time to feel a few things again—I wouldn’t. I choose to live in the present with aspirations for the future because what has been done is the past can never be undone. I choose to accept that what has occurred in my life is all part of my path in becoming the best version of me that I can become. To the one who introduced me to racism—thank you. To the friends who have left me—thank you. To the girls who harassed me in high school—thank you. To the first boy who broke my heart—I thank you the most. To everyone who has ever hurt my soul, whether it was on purpose or by accident, thank you. Taking all the bad that has been done to you and manifesting it into good, positive energy is the only way to survive. There are going to be several people in everyone’s lifetime that causes them pain, if we internalize the pain constantly and never let it be the seed for something better—we will only fail to grow and never see a better day.
Even though forgiveness should be reached, it doesn’t mean that you still can’t hurt. Sometimes a person can cut so deep inside of your soul that the pain will linger there forever—they change your DNA. But even the strongest souls cry sometime—it is never not okay to cry, and it is never not okay to feel. Nothing that you feel on your journey of healing will ever make you weak. Allow yourself to hurt, but do not let that hurt consume your entire life because there is so much more beauty to life than constant pain. If there is anything that you do today, tell yourself this, “I am greater than all of the pain and hurt that I have experienced. I am worthy of abundance, bliss, love, and joy. Only growth can come from here.”