“I never knew I could be hurt this deeply. What he did feels unforgivable.”
“I can’t believe she did this to me! I trusted her!”
“I can’t believe I’m still upset about this! Why can’t I just let it go, already?”
During 24 years of working as a psychologist, I have witnessed a great deal of heartache … and anger.
I’ve witnessed people mourn the “end of innocence” — saying goodbye to a time in their lives when they trusted people, shifting into a new era of cynicism, bitterness and big, heavy grudges.
If you’re familiar with some of the other articles and books that I’ve written, you probably know the seven words that are coming next:
It doesn’t have to be this way.
No matter how hard you are hurting, and no matter what they did, it is ALWAYS possible to forgive.
But I know you might think this doesn’t sound possible.
I know, because when people are hurting emotionally, they often resist the idea of forgiveness — at least initially.
They may think things like:
“What they did was really, really bad. I can’t forgive. I can’t even wrap my mind around doing that.”
Still, it is possible to forgive.
There’s a true story I was told, once, about a brave Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust and later started her own small business.
A few years down the road, her business was set aflame by vandals, in the middle of the night — people committing a crime against a woman they barely knew.
But this woman refused to be burdened by hatred and bitterness.
She carried on. Rebuilt her shop. Continued to be of service to people. Continued to love.
Many years later, a reporter asked this woman:
“How did you manage to forgive all of those people who wronged you so terribly, time and time again?”
She said, simply:
“I did not forgive them … for them. I forgave them … for me.”
This woman understands the true power of forgiveness.
When we stop clinging to anger and bitterness, we can set ourselves free.
Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to yourself … to the people who you love … to your community … and to the world.
Is it possible to forgive? Yes, it is.
Think about a person or a situation that you felt emotionally hurt by.
Think about what it would feel like to be free of those exhausting, heavy feelings?
Imagine yourself … like that. Imagine yourself… moving towards … that.
Imagine living an unburdened life… a life that is light, joyful and free.
I hope this article has offered some inspiration, for the journey…
. . .
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always contact a qualified professional before implementing or modifying any personal growth or wellness program or technique, and with questions about your well-being.
Copyright ©2019 Dr. Suzanne Gelb, PhD, JD. All rights reserved.