A reminder that forgiveness is not a random occurrence that comes only with time. It’s a choice, a voluntary action, and a crucial part of healing.
A friend of mine once told me something about forgiveness that blew my mind. I was venting about how I was still angry with someone who had hurt me many years before. I was confused as to why, even after so long, the bitterness still had a hold over me. Her response was not some off-the-wall piece of advice. It was actually so simplistic, that I’m a little ashamed to admit that it had never occurred to me.
The rest of our conversation went as follows…
Friend: “So, you’ve just been waiting around all these years to feel forgiveness?”
Me: “Uh, yeah. What was I supposed to do?”
Friend: “Amanda, when you’re truly ready to let this go, you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror. You say to your reflection ‘I forgive him’. It won’t be true, but you’ll have to repeat it every day until it is true.”
I believed her. Because this dear woman had survived a good bit of trauma in her life and had worked for years to pull herself through the bullshit she had endured. There was another reason I believed that this plan would work. I kinda always knew that I had been choosing to hang on to the pain. I, for years, had been using it as an excuse to make poor and selfish choices. The happenings of my first real relationship were, in my mind, the beginning chapters of my emotional descent story. I was using them as justification for the years of chaos that followed.
Timing is Everything
I thought to myself ‘someone could have told me this shit sooner’. But, almost immediately, I knew it was a pointless thought. Had someone dropped a wisdom bomb such as this on me at twenty-five, their efforts would have been fruitless. I would not have heard them. Because I would not have been listening.
The day after this game-changing conversation, I decided to give it a try. I recited what would become my morning mantra for the next several months. At the time, I didn’t know how long it would take or that there would be some days that I just wouldn’t have it in me to lie to myself.
In due time, just as my friend has said it would, my lie became truth. Just to be sure, I decided to keep up the routine a bit longer, and each day I felt a little lighter, a little freer and a little closer to recovery.
Have you ever had a similar conversation, in that it was emotionally game changing?
Have you ever found it difficult to forgive someone?