Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Can you forgive?

Mood: Happy with my new laptop! Whoo-hoo!!!!

The question above doesn't want to invite any sort of preaching from any sort of religion. It is a simple question. I am not religious so this is not going to be about anything like that. This has got nothing to do with it at all so it is not necessary to give me quotes of anything from the Bible or from any other Holy Book, if you may. This has got something to do with what forgiveness really does inside of us psychologically, mentally and emotionally.

First of all, Dictionary.com says forgiveness is 'the act of excusing a mistake or offense.' I have been reading a lot of books on forgiveness, most of them are psychological books. I have been hurt for too many times by all kinds of people - some were dear to me, some were mere colleagues and some were just people who were insignificant really. Of course it hurts the most when it is someone close to your heart and someone you hold dear that does something horrible to you. Or someone very important in your life. If forgiveness is the 'act of excusing a mistake or offense,' does this mean we just have to keep ignoring the mistake? I don't think so. I've written something about burning bridges. I think this has got a lot to do with burning bridges as well. Forgiveness, in my view and from what I have gathered and read, is simply letting go. Letting the pain go and forgetting it, even if sometimes it means also forgetting the person to stop the pain. Forgiveness, for me, is letting the person be even if it means not wanting to have anything to do with that person for the rest of your life. Forgiveness means just accepting the situation or whatever happened and what will happen. For me, it is that good feeling in my heart, that feeling of 'maluwag sa dibdib' (God, I don't know how to translate this phrase in English!), it's that feeling when I wake up in the morning feeling good. Do you know that feeling? But it is not always easy to forgive. In my case, sometimes it takes years. My healing takes time as well. For others, it is easier and I find these people blessed, if not lucky, to be able to have that kind of attitude. I wish I could have that kind of attitude towards life. Just living, loving and letting go.

I have been thinking of an example of someone who has really annoyed me lately. It has been awhile since I got really irritated (of course that excludes the little irritations the hubby gives me, hehehe) I could only think of one. There was this woman who used to work in the company where I am working. She knows me and I know her. Although we were never friends, we knew each other's name (well, at least I know hers!). She left the company a few weeks after I joined. She joined a new company within the same area so I always get to see her - bump into her - at lunch time, in the morning on my way to work and in the afternoon on my way to catch the bus. Tell you what - she always ignores me! She never acknowledges my presence. I always said hello to her. I smiled. I winked. I waved. I tap danced. I even did a somersault. Nothing worked. She just ignores me. Like I don't exist. Naturally, I began to get annoyed. I started to have this irritation when I'd see her. So I stopped saying hello. I stopped smiling or winking or waving. I stopped the tap dance and the somersault. Nada. I stopped giving her any of my attention. But I hated her. For what? For ignoring me. For not making me feel important. For not giving me the attention I wanted. And I knew it was wrong. It was the ego in me that was doing this and making me feel this way. So this afternoon, on my way to the bus stop, I saw her again. But differently this time. I removed myself from the situation. I used the technique of becoming an observer in a situation and not being the actor in it. All my anger went. I didn't say hello to her. I just let go of the bad feeling. I started to think straight. Perhaps she didn't want to be friends, so what? Perhaps she is always in a hurry so she's just not bothered to greet anybody, so what? Why do I have to be offended? It has got nothing to do with me. She's not important. She's not significant in my life. So I just let it go.

I know situations are not as simple as this experience. Some people really hurt us badly....and sometimes it is hard to let go. It is hard to forgive. Believe me, I know. I have been there. To be honest, I am still in the process of letting go, of forgiving people and forgiving myself. I tried all sorts of stress-relievers to ease my pain and to relieve me from this gnawing feeling. It took awhile but it is working. I have now let go of a lot of anger in my heart and I feel happier.

I specifically said that this has got nothing to do with religion because no religion helped me in this process. I just realised that it is unhealthy to be angry. It is affecting all of me. My anger doesn't affect the subjects of my anger but affects me, my loved ones, everybody around me. Remember the last time you got really mad? Think about it, why were you so angry? Was it really the situation that made you angry or did it only trigger your anger? Anger can be deeply-seated. Anger can build up inside you without you knowing it. It is like energy, it is like steam that needs to get out. That's why forgiveness is letting go. Let all the steam go. Let all the negative energy go. Even if it takes time.

There is only one person who knows if you have truly forgiven the people who have hurt you.

And that is you.


elizabeth said...

Len, I can totally relate :) I do have similar experiences with some people who just brush me aside as if I do not exist. Well, I also brush them off, but usually, they are the same people who would come to you when they need help. not very smart you can tell.

Gina said...

Whoooooooooooo !!! for the new laptop!

Ay, tse! lang siya.;-P

Then she really doesn't deserve any emotion or any reaction from you.

Len, good luck on PPP.