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The precious gift of forgiveness
I would probably speak for most of us when I say that forgiveness is and always will remain one of the greatest philosophical mysteries of life. I say this because genuine forgiveness can be one of the most difficult states of mind to achieve. Most of us would live by the old cliche saying that it is easy to forgive, but difficult to forget, and I attribute this as much to myself as to anyone else. Indeed, forgiveness is an elusive phenomenon!
Yet forgiveness is a necessity for not being able to forgive equates not being able to let go of the hurt within that can very much cripple our psyche. I have witnessed first hand how damaging the effects of hate can be. I share a story of a lady who was not able to forgive others for making her the subject of ugly rumor. She began hallucinating that everyone was deliberately picking on her. The hatred was vested so deeply that it began to consume, and this lady was soon obsessed with the idea of revenge. Ultimately, she suffered from one of the worst nervous breakdowns you could ever witness, calling each of her friends and accusing them of the worst things imaginable, going as far as to harass their family members as well. She has had to be warded for psychiatric assessment as a result. This may seem like a scene out of an episode of General Hospital, but it is indeed a real incident, and drives home the point that negativity can indeed have crippling effects.
Some will seek forgiveness
Why is forgiveness such a huge stumbling block?
A cherished commodity: our pride
Indeed, forgiveness can be one of the most difficult stumbling blocks we have to surmount. When we cannot forgive, it is most often the result of hurt pride. When someone we trust and treasure hurts us, he or she deals us a huge blow, not only to the trust we have vested in that person, but also to our esteem as well. We feel under valued and cannot understand why someone can misplace the trust we have had in them.
We have been brought up to believe in things in a certain way.
When someone ruffles my feathers in any way, I often ask why I cannot extend the white tulip of forgiveness to them. Indeed, these tulips can be so hard to come by. Why? The inherent beliefs we have be brought up with often stand in the way of our ability to forgive. The idea of self-preservation we are ingrained with by elders often tells us that we are silly if we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of by forgiving others. The social norm is deeply ingrained. We are afraid of not being accepted ourselves if we forgive too easily or that our kindness would be taken for granted.
Lack of forgiveness is an excuse for letting oneself off the hook.
When someone behaves in an inappropriate way, it is the perfect excuse to say, “So he’s done it too” and shift the focus of our own misdemeanors onto them. We heave sighs of relief when we are the ones not being singled out for any recalcitrant behavior.
It is the reason why we have to take a little step back and take a hard look at ourselves when we become victims of misdeeds. We might have done something very similar!
Steps to forgiveness
15 ways to forgive others
I will be the first to admit that it is not easy to take my own advice. Putting things intopractice is always harder than saying them. Still, it is good for us to have something thatwill serve as a guide.
1. Learn to empathize with them. As bizarre as this may sound, people could have had difficulties that led to them hurting you.
2. Remember that forgiveness is for yourself. No one likes the idea of buffing another
person’s esteem or pride at his or her own expense, but it is good to remember that
when you truly forgive, you release your own burdens and it is ever so much easier
3.Remember that we have made mistakes too, and want to be forgiven for them.
4.Let time and space heal wounds. If it is difficult to face the person who has hurt you,
do not force yourself to do so; keep a distance until you can get a grip on your feelings.
5. Everyone is doing his best, including the person who has offended you.
6. There is a thin line between love and hate, and hate is love turned around -Wayne Dyer
7. The reason why you find it hard to forgive a person who has hurt so deeply is because of the love you have had for them. If we look deeply enough, it is still there!
8. It takes less energy to forgive than hate another person.
9. Since it takes less energy, peace comes naturally when you forgive.
10. Remember why you love the person who has hurt you. Extend the white tulip of forgiveness. What has happened already has, and it is time to forget.
11.The harder it is to forgive, the more responsible we become.
12. Do not force forgiveness; let it bide its time. But at least do not act on anger.
13. Try writing a letter stating why that person has hurt you and burn it, along with all your discontent.
14. Remember when you were forgiven.
15. Pray, pray, pray!
Forgiveness: An underrated life skill
White tulips that bloom in the spring usually represent forgiveness. We all recognize the cup shaped petals and the long green stem. How should we extend the white tulip when it seems that we cannot do so?
Pure in spirit
With radiant sheen
To deftly hold,
stems loathe to straighten
When rain comes
dark clouds align,
Their white petals
Seem to shine
They reach yet, for
To spring, mature
grow with grace
Their white petals
Their green stems
Let pass, for now.
Other philosophy articles by Michelle Liew (midget38)
- How can we show tenacity in the face of adversity?
How we should deal with adversity
- Coping with adversity - discovering the goal worth failing for
We struggle with adversity- it can cripple and leave us completely helpless. Here are some useful suggestions for coping with our problems in life!