All of us has or has had, a personal relationship with hurt, resentment or anger. Now its time to consider building a relationship with forgiveness. (If you don’t already have one) As simple as this relationship to forgive concept sounds, its pregnant with many meanings. To forgive means to give for, exchange for the attitude that you have, a new attitude more consistent with peace of mind. Once upon at time a part of me used to succumb to bitterness, anger and hatred that substains the emotion of unwillingness to forgive, especially being from the mean, unforgiving streets and gang subcultures of Los Angeles however, over time as lack of knowledge transformed into knowledge and knowledge transitioned into wisdom a larger part of my emotions started to long for something different and that something was a relationship with forgiveness. However, this is not a article about me, its an article about forgiveness. I just felt compelled to segway it in, to offer a broader perspective of my level of insight on the psychology at play. With that said, please allow me to digress back to the theme. I’ve elected to help define for you one of the many meanings of forgiveness by expressing to you what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not the misguided act of condoning irresponsible or hurtful behavior, nor is it a superficial turning of the other cheek that leaves us feeling victimized. Rather it is the emotional readjustment of freeing the present from the contaminations from the past.
Resentment or grudges do no harm to the person against whom you hold these feelings. Struggling with bitterness in your heart will poison you as quick as surrendering to life’s problems. Forgiveness means that you do not carry the luggage of an experience. When you choose not to forgive, the experience that you do not forgive sticks with you. Plus, you will always need someone that you have not forgiven to feel right about what you’ve become by not forgiving. When you forgive you release critical judgement of yourself as well as of others, you lighten up, you do not cling to negative experience that result from decisions that you made while you were learning. Even from a selfish stand- point, it is good for you to let go the negativity of the past. Relationships are the cornerstone of our mental health and those that have soured, drains us emotionally, spiritually and physically. It is good to forgive in order to maintain emotional balance. To forgive also means to forget, if you cannot forget it, you cannot forgive. It is not what is forgotten that bothers you. It is what you compulsively remember. When you become annoyed notice how you remember and rehearse unpleasant scenes in your mind, through being upset you have a good memory for the worthless things and bad memory for the worth while. If you can’t forgive the people who may not deserve to be forgiven, you deserve to be free of them. I hope my framework of the meanings and relationship of forgiveness helps you lean into more of an understanding of the importance of having a intimate relationship with forgiveness. We cannot undertake this freeing task unless we are willing to accept the change and the discomfort that come with the process.
Jeorald Pitts/Lil Tone is the founder of the non-profit org. C.H.A.N.G.E.S. (Community Helping Adolescence Needing Guidance Education & Support). Author of To Bang or Not To Bang-A book of questions. Now available at your preferred online bookstores. Mr. Pitts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.