Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why I Choose to Live Forgiveness

I know people who cling to their grudges and grievances like they're life lines. It's somehow offensive to them for someone to even suggest maybe they might want to consider forgiving their offender and moving on. Living with the misery becomes a sort of badge symbolizing...what? Perseverance? Pride? Righteousness?

I'm learning and growing and sometimes still find myself thinking of things that happened years ago that deeply offended or hurt me. And if I get stuck in a melancholy groove and focus my thoughts and attention on such unpleasantness, I can feel it. The way the negative thoughts begin to permeate my mind and change my attitude for the worse. The way I feel drained by the weight of the burden of holding on.

However, I've come to realize that I have a choice. The big choice for me is: live happy or live miserable. Sounds like a no-brainer, but obviously it's not so cut and dry. The thing is, whether I'm happy or miserable comes from myself, not from how people treat me, or what the weather happens to be, or any other outside source. I have to consciously make the choice. I choose happy. Some days it's harder than others. Some days it feels impossible. But every time I choose happy, guess what? I'm happy. It's not magic, it's just that happy is as happy does. I prefer to be happy (don't think I'm an idiot for stating the obvious - some people - I know some of them and I'm sure you do too - really seem like they prefer to be miserable).

Withholding forgiveness is not congruent with living happy. Carrying a chain of grudges on my shoulders interferes with the way I want to live. It holds me back and prevents me from growing. It chips away at my happiness. It sucks me dry of the joy of living. 

Forgiving doesn't have to mean excusing anybody for anything. It can mean loving people despite their weaknesses and mistakes. Or not loving them, but moving on and letting go. It's a way of saying to a wrong-doer, even if only within my own heart and mind, I accept that you are human and imperfect, that you sometimes make bad choices, and that your choices and actions are not going to control my life. Take away the negative power those who hurt you hold over you by forgiving them.


Diane and Chad said...

so TOTALLY true...thanks:)

ThurberGang said...

well said! thanks for the reminder . . .