Recently, my ex and I had a fight or a discussion through sms/text (pathetic isn't it?), we had an enormous feeling of anger, hatred, disappoint- ments towards each other, or perhaps I was the only one... : ) I don't have to go back thinking of what we have said to each other, but instead I would like to share you a wonderful experience I had over Christmas Eve. I never had sleep during the Christmas Eve, until the following morning of Christmas; I get out of my bed, took a stick of cigarette, a towel, and led myself to shower. That morning while taking a shower, I prayed so hard:
Right after I took a bath, I sat down the tub and talked to myself, if I walk out of this shower room, I will become a new and better person. I stood up and walked to my bed and sat down to watch TV, as I turned the TV on, a single phrase appeared before my eyes:
"How can you love if you don't know how to forgive?"
Without wasting a single second I grabbed my phone and send a message to my ex, asking for forgiveness and that he may forgive me too. He responded, "Thanks, and we may stay friends." Instantly, I felt so good about it and felt all the anger, resentment and grudges are gone. Like a magic!
I believe that the most important thing to consider when thinking about forgiveness is the effect that it has on ourselves. Forgiveness isn't always about the person being forgiven; often, that person will have asked forgiveness and will be very grateful when we do forgive, but probably more often we need to forgive for our own sakes. I've carried around anger and resentment for a while, and I've done so quite often. But the thing that always took it away was the realization--usually later rather than sooner--that my anger wasn't affecting the object of my anger at all, but it was affecting me a great deal, in a very negative way. I wasn't sleeping as I could have been, I wasn't able to focus on the task at hand as well as I could have, I wasn't able to relate to other people effectively.
True forgiveness is not something we do for another person. I often hear people speak of forgiveness as something we give to someone else, something that must be deserved or earned, and sometimes needs to be withheld. The virtuous purpose of forgiveness is self-healing. As long as we are holding anger, resentment and grudges against another person, we are contaminating our bodies, spawning thoughts, outlook and attitude that keep away our highest good. As we hold on to the belief that someone has harmed us so badly that we cannot, will not, forgive, we give power to the part of us that feels vulnerable and defenseless to being harmed. Want for forgiveness actually draws more in situation that will feed our anger and ill-treatment. Lack of forgiveness has been related as the result to illness, excess weight, financial scarcity, failed relationships and a host of other problems. Lack of forgiveness inhibits love, which is the only true source of power. I have established its importance, what exactly does it means to forgive. Forgiveness is sometimes experienced as letting someone who hurt us off the hook, no longer holding them responsible for their actions.
"The practice of forgiveness can play an important role in your relationships with others. Forgiveness will enable you to correct distortions in your relationships and to improve the quality, intensity, and meaningfulness of relationships. It means letting go of past resentments toward others so that you can experience them in the present. Even if you do not "feel" like forgiving someone, forgiving them will release you from the hold of the past and allow you to experience the world in a new way. To forgive is to step outside the vicious circle of interpretation, where concepts from the past dominate experience, and to begin to live in terms of a larger, more worthy purpose. Forgiveness eliminates fear and anxiety, weakness and vulnerability."
Forgiveness is not a negotiation between two people. It does not begin and end by saying “I forgive you.” True forgiveness is not about excusing someone’s hurtful actions. It goes much deeper than this. It is the inner understanding that no harm was done, in truth, nothing to forgive. Anyone who acts intentionally to harm another is trapped in this painful prison, even if he or she doesn’t recognize it as such. When we understand this, we can more easily feel compassion instead of rage. Instead of focusing attention on the wrong thing that has been done to you, imagine that this painful experience reflects some belief or expectation you have about life.
"Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
As of this moment, my ex and I remain as friends, exchanging messages, the best gift I ever received?, well, it’s the act of forgiveness...
Merry Christmas to all of you...