I read this quote by Joan Lunden “Holding onto anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life.”
I seriously reflected on this quote and realized the truth it was affirming. Wow! I decided to forgive all those who had hurt me, in past. I felt strong conflict within myself, when I decided to forgive because it surely demanded ebbing of my ego, at least this was what I guessed in the beginning. My ego was not ready for this and it took me months to swim through myriads of emotions and thoughts to convince my ego and forgive those people, one by one. I was able to forgive them by changing my perspective and by validating them in their act. In the process of validation, I often thought that these people are unable to understand how wrong they are, and how low their IQ and EQ is. Actually, I looked down on them and gave myself a position of a liberal and generous person. And sometimes, I thought of other reasons supporting their actions. This forgiving act, contrary to my initial guess, boosted my ego and surely brought me laughter and lightness as I no longer considered them equal or superior to me. All I felt was pity for them. It really gave me complete delusion of forgiveness. I could cheerfully talk to these persons, now, and their acts could not hurt me anymore. I was, I felt, living a life without anger and rest other harsh and sad feelings. Also, it gave me delusion that now my happiness quotient was independent of these hurting people in my life. Almost, all those forgiven persons celebrated me, praised me for blossoming into a mature and forgiving person and our relationships invigorated. Yes, I was there! I was a winner! I was a genius or, maybe even, enlightened!
It took me two years to completely feel myself as a forgiving soul and bask in spotlight of popularity. It was all going well until one of them said something brusquely and completely discarded me as a respective, responsible and mature being. It shattered my forgiving persona as I found myself consumed in hating, and being angry with that person, all over again. How was this possible! I had come this far and yet it mirrored my past. What was I doing during these past two years? Had I really forgiven this person? How I validated him in past? This is what I found when I looked for the validation: he loves to hurt me because he hates me. Everyone hates something or someone, and everyone would love to hurt someone he/she hates. So, he is valid in himself. This was my premise for forgiving him. Now, Two years later to this forgiving act, when the heated conversation took place in presence of my kid, I could not validate him. It was enigmatic, inundating and annoying. ‘Do I deserve this much hatred and animosity?’ this question consumed me and I was filled with anger, self-pity, sadness and many other harsh feelings.
After brooding over this question for days and making myself miserable, I realized that I was stuck with two things: 1) a saying ‘You get what you deserve’. 2) transferring pity from his account to mine. However, at times, the whole universe conspires and you get something you had not even imagined of. Fate, or luck, or blessings, or you just being there, is the determining factor. I always admit that I am lucky to have such a loving, caring, witty and intellectual husband. Since, luck worked for me in getting such a cool person as my husband, I never questioned ‘You get what you deserve’ and happily took this as exception. However, when I am with someone unpleasant, whom I don’t believe I deserve, why am I looking to this ‘get and deserve’ mathematics and torturing myself with all sorts of negative emotions. I should take it as openly as I took other exceptions. This is very ambitious to expect all the exceptions to be in my favor.
This episode gave me insight that I am not enlightened or a forgiving soul. I should rather muster the courage to accept who I am. I have forgiven, I suppose, many people but I surely cannot forgive this person, regardless of how validated he is. This indeed gives me tense muscles, headache and forgiveness gives laughter and lightness, I have experienced it and yet I don’t want it this time. This is weird, I am ready to let go my happiness and liberation. And more weird thing is that I expected his behavioral change! Why? He actions were synchronous with his past actions. See, his interface was predictable and he never asked for forgiveness in the first place. I decided to forgive him for my sake. Why the hell I expected him to behave differently? Why I expected acceptance and respect from him? I was changed so my response should be expected to change not his. This is another insight I got that my expectations became unknowingly unrealistic and beyond rationalization.
Have I really learnt to forgive? What is a better procedure to forgive someone? What is the true meaning of forgiveness? I am looking for new answers now. I tried a procedure and I know there is something fundamentally wrong in it and it won’t work for a long time in a situation where you cannot escape the offending person. Though it works quite well when you have control over the frequency of meeting and topics of discussions with offending persons. Looking down on someone and pity someone including yourself are fundamentally wrong part of the process, I crafted. ‘Why me’ and ‘get and deserve’ theory are a deadly trap. These past two years taught these two important aspects of forgiveness and I have lot more to understand about forgiveness, an important life skill. I am full of flaws, misconceptions and I do make blunders. I keep on exposing myself because vulnerability teaches a lot and helps to thrive. I will keep on trying and making new mistakes.
See you again. 🙂