Thought Catalog
June 7, 2017

Why I’ll Always Choose Forgiveness No Matter How Much I’ve Been Hurt

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It is one of the most freeing things you’ll ever do. And yet it is so difficult to do. Well, only if you make it difficult.

I’ve heard it before, and I may have agreed a time or two, that forgiveness takes a while. I’ve thought to myself a few times, and may have even said, “thank you for your apology but it’s gonna take me a while to forgive you” or “there’s no way I can forgive that person because what they did hurt me so much”. Rather than put my energy toward my resolution to forgive them, I was caught up in wondering how I could possibly forgive them, justifying my resolution to not forgive them. I thought that my pain was my power. As long as I was the victim, I was the powerful one. But guess what?

That’s. Not. True.

It does not take a while to forgive. It may take a while to process your emotions or deal with your feelings. But to forgive only takes a decision.

It may not be easy. As a matter of fact, the deeper the hurt or harsher the offense, the more effort and time it may take to deal with the emotions. Most likely you will have to consciously tell yourself to make the decision to forgive on a daily basis. But that’s the beauty of being intelligent species with free will. We have the power to command ourselves and the luxury of choice. After making the conscious decision to not allow what cannot be changed to control your thoughts, words, and actions, forgiveness is the only logical choice.

All one must do is decide that the hurt that is occupying their headspace and controlling their life will not be a determining factor when dealing with the individual whose actions hurt them.

Some would ask “how do I know that I’ve really forgiven an individual?” Well it’s been said that if a person whose actions or words have hurt you can run through your mind space and emerge unscathed, you know you’ve forgiven. I’m inclined to agree with that statement. I’d also add that if an individual can run through your mind and you can keep your emotions concerning what was done to you in check and wish them well, you know you’re walking in forgiveness. Yes. Walking in forgiveness. It is a path that you choose. A choice to walk in love, in harmony, in peace and in goodwill with a good attitude. It is a constant choice that we will all have to make throughout our lives. So why not start now?

Cultivate the habit now so that it becomes so easy for you that you don’t even have to think twice about wishing someone anything less than the blessing that you would want for yourself. At some point we all need forgiveness. When it’s your turn to be forgiven, let it be easy by choosing to walk and live with a forgiving spirit.

A former friend once told me that my friendship was a regret for them. Every moment, every holiday, every epiphany, every gift, every whispered secret, every piece of shared wisdom, every happy tear…a regret. Now yes, I said former friend.

Some things aren’t meant to last forever. And although this person is, indeed, a former friend, I could never bring myself to say to them that I regret choosing them as a friend. Because I don’t.

I regret the hurt. Indeed, I wish that the lessons I needed to learn could have been learned without that hurt. But I can’t regret the friendship. In the midst of that friendship, tumultuous at times, I learned a lot about myself. I had experiences that I would never change, laughs that I will never want to un-laugh, smiles that I will never want to un-smile, gifts that I will never want to un-give and moments that have literally taken my breath away. The journey that you take with an individual is yours. The lessons you may learn are meant for you. That journey was meant for us. Apparently, this person doesn’t feel the same. That makes me sad.

Truthfully, it hurt like hell to hear those words. Perhaps they were said out of intense emotion or hurt feelings. And perhaps that friend will one day realize that to regret choosing a friend is to regret every good thing that came out of that friendship; essentially, to regret your life.

Regardless of what this individual chooses, whether they choose forgiveness or bitterness, I choose to forgive and wish them well. Otherwise, I’d be imprisoned by negative thoughts and emotions, bound by answers to questions that I may never get.

And I’m just not willing to live that way. I’m not willing to be held hostage my someone else’s hurt. My heart would not be free to experience the beauty and peace and joy that’s meant for me. I’m just not willing to put my life on hold so that I can hold on to pain and a false sense of power. There are things that still sting when I think about them. There are wounds that are not quite healed yet. But I make the choice to maintain love, treat them with love and move forward peacefully, without them. I. CHOOSE.

Recently I heard a pastor say “Your life can only go so far as the degree of your forgiveness.” Regardless of your beliefs, that’s just the plain truth. There’s fear in unforgiveness. Fear says “if I forgive this person they’ll never get what’s coming to them”. But true forgiveness says, I wish the best for them. If there’s a lesson to be learned, trust, they’ll get their lesson. But that’s not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to release them, untether yourself from hurt, and move forward to the peace-filled, joyful life that you’re meant to live. The fact is the burden and consequence of unforgiveness is carried by the person choosing not to forgive.

So…
Drop the burden.
Forgive.
Let go.
Move forward, in love and peace.
Be free.
Free others.
Allow your life to blossom.
Just…
Decide… TC mark