Forgiveness is such a heavy word. After a painful situation—breakups, friendships lost, someone making you feel that you're just not good enough—we're told to forgive the person who hurt us instead. They say it's so we can move on from what happened, so we can finally let go and get on with our lives. Yes, we've been told to do so a thousand times in a thousand different ways.
It's so easy to say this to someone, to ourselves even. In reality, it's actually one of the hardest choices we have to make in our lifetime because when we choose to forgive, it's actually like we're choosing to see the bigger picture and to believe that things will all make sense when the time is right—whenever that may be, no one knows for sure. It's trying to understand and accept one of life's most painful truths and processes, which is getting our hearts broken and before actually learning what those heartbreaks were made for.
When we choose to forgive, it's actually like we're choosing to see the bigger picture and to believe that things will all make sense when the time is right.
But here's a little secret from us: in order to forgive another person, we all have to go through a long and painful process first. Whether we like it or not, we have to accept all the emotions—good or bad, but mostly bad—that come with what happened. This means we have to grieve, to get angry, to wallow in our misery, to acknowledge that we're broken and that nothing can make us feel better at the moment.
If we deny ourselves this simple act of acknowledging that we're in pain, it will also feel like we're denying ourselves that what broke us really happened or that worse, that we don't have the right to feel the way we do—hurt and broken. This is why when we're in denial, it feels like like we are trapped in a messy cycle of thinking we're not good enough because we can't take "control" of our feelings, and thinking that there's nothing there to be upset about, like what happened was all in our heads.
So as early as you can, choose to process everything that happened—every single detail of what went wrong, of that specific moment he crushed your heart, of every single thing that broke you. That process is necessary. Then after wallowing in all these painful emotions, force yourself to move forward. Know that forgiveness is a process of loving yourself better, of showing yourself some lovin'.
There's this beautiful quote from Lewis B. Smedes that has helped me take a big leap forward time and again, and that, I think, captures the very essence of forgiveness: "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and [to] discover that the prisoner was you." What we don't realize is that refusing to forgive the people who broke our hearts is actually weighing us down. Time and again, we'll be reminded of painful situations that they have caused us and we'll break down for the nth time again. It will repeatedly take control of our mood, our feelings, and our hearts.
What we don't realize is that refusing to forgive the people who broke our hearts is actually weighing us down.
If we choose to finally forgive, we're on our way to doing the opposite. Finally choosing to give someone the forgiveness we think they don't really deserve is a process of understanding, suffering, and then finally choosing to move on and let go—letting go of the anger, the pain, and the heartbreak not because it's the right thing to do, but because it's the right thing to do for yourself.
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