We’ve all been either physically, verbally, or emotionally abused by someone in our lives. We may not be able to control everything that is done to us by others, but we do have control over our response to it…
Forgiving those who hurt you may seem difficult or even impossible, but after reading this article, you’re going to have some new perspectives that will make it much easier for you.
We cannot afford to wait for others to change before we give ourselves permission to be at peace. We have no control over others. Let’s stop pretending that we do. It will make our journey of healing so much easier because we’ll be dealing with ONE person (our self) rather than many.
Here are 3 realizations I have had on my own journey that allowed me to completely let go of many grudges, resentments, and painful memories that used to create many emotional challenges for me. If they could help me in such a profound way, I’m sure they can do the same for you.
1. Forgiveness is For YOUR Benefit.
Refusing to Forgive Punishes No One But Yourself.
Why exactly do we NOT forgive others? What is the psychological reasoning behind it? Have you ever asked yourself this?
I think it requires a lot of self-honesty, but I certainly saw within myself that refusing to forgive someone was coming from my own pride and desire to punish the other person for doing me wrong.
However, this makes little sense from a rational viewpoint, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, the idea that holding a negative thought or emotion within MYSELF is going to somehow punish someone else, where’s the logic in that?
There’s a quote that I like. It says:“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”Click To Tweet
So first, we have to understand that we only punish ourselves by a lack of forgiveness. The other person may not even think about the situation, but we may waste precious time replaying it over and over again in our minds. Who wins and who loses here?
WE are the ones who lose by refusing to forgive. Let’s stop fooling ourselves into believing there’s any benefit in it for us. There’s none!
2. Only ‘Hurt’ People Hurt People.
The next thing to understand is that everyone’s words and behavior depend entirely on their own mental, emotional, or spiritual state of being at any given time. Thus, anyone who purposely does harm to others is someone who is suffering mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.
This understanding helps us develop more compassion for others. Yes, they may have hurt us, but they did so because they themselves were hurting inside. No, that’s not an excuse, but it’s an explanation that makes more sense than other stories you’ve probably been telling yourself.
We must be willing to look at the larger context of situations in order to truly understand the reason behind any action. For example, people who abuse others are often people who were themselves abused by someone in their past. The pain of that abuse may have led to self-hatred, the desire for revenge or retaliation, which manifests itself in abuse towards others.
Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. If you had all the same experiences as they did from the time they were born until now, it’s not unreasonable to assume that you would have ended up just like them. True?
This is not to condone or justify cruel behavior. It’s unfortunate that this kind of thing is so common in the world, but if we ever want to find peace within ourselves, we need to stop trying to change the things we have no control over and look at what we CAN control instead…
What we CAN control is our own interpretation of things and the meaning we place on events and circumstances. We can see things in a negative light or we can choose to see everything as an opportunity to become more wise, compassionate, and gentle-hearted.
3. Your Future Is So Much More Important Than Your Past
The past is dead and gone and can never be changed, no matter how hard you try. Plain and simple.
The only good reason I can see to ever think of the past is to learn something from it. I can look back on things that I wish I would have done differently, but instead of dwelling on them, I can simply decide that if that situation ever presents itself again in the future, then I’ll choose a different response.
It’s important to always look at our own reactions, not those of others. We have no control over how other people will react or behave in the future. We can only deal with ourselves.
Instead of focusing on what other people did to you in the past, focus on how you interpreted or reacted to those situations. Then, think of how you could improve upon that if it were to ever happen again.
For example, maybe you were abused by someone in the past and you reacted with hate, anger, and disgust. Now, try to come up with a new story and see yourself reacting differently to that same situation. Use your mind to visualize yourself responding in a more compassionate or level-headed way.
If you can visualize yourself responding in a different way, then it means you have the power to respond that way in real life. We may have reacted out of habit in the past, but the past teaches us what feels good and what doesn’t. It teaches us how to choose differently, and that is a blessing my friend!
I pray that you have found a little peace by reading this.