Jan Deelstra’s premise works – “Letting go means living longer and healthier and happier. If you must get even with the purveyor of betrayal, get even with the victimizer by living your best life, letting go of any attachment to the circumstances that you are now far beyond.”
Easy for me to say. There is scientific proof (see blog link) that forgiveness contributes to good health and longevity. So why has it been so damn difficult sometimes? Why have I sometimes felt as though I am admitting a frailty or defeat when I forgive some one who’s wronged me? Does forgiveness absolve the person and justify the actions?
No. Over the years, and for the sake of my sanity, I’ve had to change my entire notion of what forgiveness is. It’s not about letting someone off the hook- and it’s not about transforming myself into a martyr.
Forgiveness now, for me, is a very conscious action. It happens when I take the burden of anger and hurt and resentment off of myself and redirect my energy towards the positives in my life. Those that wronged me must decide for him or herself whether they want to learn from what happened or not. It isn’t my responsibility.
Like many us I have fallen prey to others. I have had to forgive – not by simply as waving a wand over someone’s head and pretending it never happened. I’ve had to let it go – to cope. The burden is no longer mine.
And I’ve forgiven myself. Those who are unintentionally hurtful deserve a second chance. Those who are intentionally hurtful to others are expressing their own desperate self-loathing. It’s not personal. Easy to say.