“Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free.”
Life is full of pain. It’s full of disappointment, resentment, anger, sadness, and frustration. There’s no way to sugar coat it and there’s no way around it. And a lot of the time, those disappointments and that pain are inflicted by the people closest to you. And that hurts. But they’ll apologize, you’ll forgive, forget, and move on.
But sometimes, that long-awaited apology never comes. We wait and wait, and our blood boils under our skin as the days go by, but we never get those few simple words.
We can’t control the actions of others. If we could, a lot of things in this world would be different. But we can control our own – and by holding onto our anger, sadness, and resentment, we only damage ourselves. Those feelings don’t inflict pain on the other, they don’t make them sorrier for what they’ve done, and they don’t change the past – we are only wasting our own time.
But here’s the difficult and often unrealized part of it all: you can forgive someone without ever hearing the words “I’m sorry,” cross their lips. It’s difficult, trust me, and it takes a lot more time and self-introspection. But forgiveness is not for the person who hurt you. It’s for you.
Forgiveness is a form of self-care; it severs the chains anchoring you to the bottom of the ocean and releases you to the freedom of the open air. Harboring anger and resentment is exhausting. It allows the person who hurt you to have agency over your past, present, and future; their actions will dictate your life, your happiness, and your drive. Forgiving someone, whether they’ve earned your forgiveness or not, will help you move forward.
Forgiving someone does not mean you have to go back to the way things were or try to put bandages on the wounds. You can offer someone forgiveness, yet not wish to rewind the clock or mend the bridges that have been burned. It simply means you are accepting what has happened and letting go of the resentment and the grudge you’re bearing to let yourself live your best life.
I live my best life when I’m helping others and creating change with the things I’m writing. I’m hoping this post does that for someone out there.
We all deserve to live our best lives. Whether you’re striving toward a concrete goal, laying the bricks of your yellow brick road, or throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks, you’re on a journey called life. We all are. And we have to make the best of it.
Recent events in Las Vegas, as well as far too many attacks on innocent people as of late, remind all of us that life is precious and life is fragile. Life is too short not to forgive and set yourself free.
Your life is your own, and you have the ability to shape it in any way you choose. Don’t let the past consume any more of your present. And most certainly, don’t let it hinder your future.