Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
I came across that quote today and in (hopefully) ensuring that it’s accurate, I came across so many quotes about forgiveness that I know it’s just another arrow pointing me on the way to bettering myself.
Martin Luther King Jr was an amazing man in so many ways. His words are full of love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding. I’ve always been in awe of what he preached and in awe of people who are so strong, yet so incredibly loving. I’ve long wondered how they can accomplish loving someone who has wronged them.
I’m realizing that this is one of my biggest issues. I hold grudges.
The problem with being held prisoner by lack of forgiveness was made incredibly clear during a conversation I had last week with a family member. A grudge, anger, bitterness has held this person tight in their grasp for four decades (yes, really – 40 years). It’s just sad. Little things sent this person into a rant about wrongs against them so long ago.
After the conversation I said aloud – I do not want to be that person.
But how do I teach myself to let go of my anger, my frustration, my own hostility?
I’ve spent countless hours wondering how I allow myself to get hurt. Why I put myself into situations that just don’t feel right, but I allow myself to get swept up with excitement and emotion. I do my best to avoid wishing ill on anyone, but often, my anger takes me to a place where I just can’t forgive and forget. I cut people off without so much as a, “let’s talk this out.” (Often after spewing horrible words.) I absolutely understand that cutting people out of my life isn’t a good habit, but have so long been unable to do anything else except build walls to protect myself. I’m also learning that the walls keep the hurt in and most likely hurt me more than the person who angered me.
I’ve often been told that I see the best in people. I know I’m an extremely loyal person. But, once I’m angered and too many chances have been given, I’m done. I’ve looked at people who turn the other cheek and wondered how they can do that. It seems to show weakness.
I’ve been praying and begging to learn how to let go and I think the lesson is finally sinking in.
I don’t have to like what someone does, but I also don’t have to keep holding onto the hurt. There is something to letting go. Not being a doormat, but not allowing anyone “to live rent free” in my head.
I’m on my journey to a better me. This lesson is working its way through my being. I know it will take time to break 40 years of habit, but it will be worth it. I’m confident of that.