“May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change …”
Continuing further with topic of letting go, I think that sometimes forgiving someone for a previous transgression may be a necessary step in order to be able to let go of a painful event in the past that can’t be changed.
Forgiveness really isn’t about making the other person feel better for harming us, although they may be very grateful to know they are forgiven. Forgiveness happens within ourselves alone.
It is about getting rid of the pent up anger, sadness, fear, bitterness, disappointment, resentment, or other painful feelings that are stuck, churning inside ourselves, and possibly making us sick.
There is no point to purposefully hanging on to the hurt and anger associated with being wronged for years and years.
For example, if one’s spouse or lover left for someone else, no doubt it hurts tremendously. But why keep hurting oneself by hanging onto that pain forever?
Carrying that feeling of being wronged like a badge of honour may make one feel more righteous than the other person, but the venom inside is only harming the person carrying it.
As in the past example, forgiving can be extremely difficult. If someone close to you was murdered, how is it possible to forgive the murderer? I am not suggesting that by forgiving a murderer that that person should be allowed to roam the streets. Forgiveness is about freeing ONESELF of negative feelings, letting go, and moving on.
Even in far less severe circumstances, being able to truly forgive is really hard. I find that wanting to let go and being able to let go are two very different things. For me it is easy to forgive on an intellectual level, but getting that shift to happen at the gut level can at times be staggeringly difficult.
Sometimes our nervous system and neuropeptide system have linked so much pain to a situation, that we feel completely blocked emotionally. Being unable to forgive at an emotional level holds one hostage to the past, making it difficult to move forward in life.
I don’t have any real answers on how to overcome this kind of emotional baggage, except to suggest that everyone is doing the best they can considering the state-of-mind, information and ability they have at any given time. If any of you have any other suggestions, please share!
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Rosenberg, Marshall B., PhD Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life Puddledancer Press, Encinitas, CA, 2005.