Every time his name came up, it felt as if someone was inappropriately shouting a stream of swear words at me. Or it could’ve just been my own inner dialogue thinking about how he had wronged me.
The more my thoughts lingered on his name, the more memories and the more feelings of hurt and unjust would flood my mind and body.
His name was like a trigger word.
Even when meeting new men, I carried that hurt into new relationships.
I would feel more guarded―prickly, you might even say.
I would worry that this new person who I didn’t even fully know yet would somehow treat me like how “he” did in the past.
I didn’t want to repeat that pattern.
No, I didn’t want either patterns!
Hell no to being treated in a way that I didn’t deserve, and I didn’t want to feel so guarded and somehow automatically assume this new man would somehow act the same way. Of course, I knew “not all men are like that”, but all I felt was “I don’t want to go through that again.”
Holding onto feelings of resentment and hurt can feel like carrying a heavy burden—one that weighs down your spirit and robs you of your inner peace. Imagine how it would feel to have that sense of emotional relief. Imagine being able to set all that weight down and letting go.
Forgiveness offers you emotional freedom
Forgiveness gives you the chance to free your mind and soul from the chains of past grievances. In relationships, forgiveness is like that secret ingredient that can elevate a connection to a higher level. When you choose to forgive, you not only embrace the present with a more open heart but also pave the way for fresh beginnings and different possibilities.
Forgiveness isn’t about erasing past mistakes and making any wrongs “ok”. It’s more about creating a brighter, happier future for yourself (and others). It’s for your own inner peace.
Forgiveness holds the potential to mend, heal, and strengthen bonds
Forgiveness is the superpower we often underestimate. Interestingly, the power to kickstart this transformation rests solely with one individual. You don’t need to stand by, waiting for an olive branch from the other side. In reality, you don’t even need the other person at all. The process of forgiveness starts with you. It starts with you making the decision to forgive.
Think of it this way: For every moment you spend holding onto a grudge, you’re missing out on creating other possibilities and having a different reality.
Precious time is lost with every second decaying under past resentments. Better memories don’t get a chance to sprout. Your grudge is like self inflicting pain but expecting and hoping the other person feels it, too. However, the only person experiencing the full brunt of the pain is YOU.
You are the one having all the negative emotions and mental thought patterns. You are the one acting from that state of anger, resentment, hurt, and pain. You are the one putting up a wall and denying the possibility of healing. More importantly, you are the only one able to change that… with forgiveness.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone what has happened in the past.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re allowing it to happen again in the future.
Forgiveness means you’re willing to let go of its current mental and emotional hold on you.
It doesn’t matter if that person isn’t in your life anymore. It even more important if that person still is. Instead of avoidance or stuffing down all that emotional discomfort, forgiveness allows you to shift your emotional state and can help you set firmer boundaries, if necessary. It gives you the opportunity to improve the relationship rather than continue spiraling down the drain.
Forgiveness is more for you than anyone else
When you prioritize resolution and understanding over grievances, you’re effectively investing in the relationship’s future. Instead of fueling more pain, channel that energy toward mending the hurt and cocreating a better, more harmonious connection.
1 – Forgive for your own mental well being.
Forgiveness not only mends external relationships but also nourishes your inner world. By choosing to forgive, you actively reduce the burdens of stress, anxiety, and unhappiness that weigh heavily on your mind and dampen your spirit. And with their absence, a noticeable shift occurs in your mental space⏤a sense of optimism and freedom that allows your well being to thrive.
You are unshackled from the chains of past grievances. What used to contain your anger, resentment, and pain is now replaced with peace, compassion, and possibility. You can see them for who they are now, untainted by the shadows of their previously unforgivable past.
2 – Forgive to build your inner strength.
Letting go dissolves the restrictive mental and emotional programming of your ego, the source of your pain and suffering.
It doesn’t matter if they have forgiven you or not.
It doesn’t matter how the person chooses to respond to you after.
You can't control their thoughts and actions, but you can decide how you want to continue showing up.
Instead of holding onto past hurts and shielding yourself from potential pain again, know that you aren’t the same person who allowed that situation to transpire. Trust that you have the ability now to set better boundaries and enforce them, too. So, by chance, if they become a repeat offender, yup, you know how to handle them.
Choosing the option to forgive is a powerful testament to your inner strength. It’s far from passive. It’s an active choice declaring, “I am in charge of how I respond and heal.”
You are refusing to let past hurts dictate your present, and this strengthens your personal empowerment. Your self-esteem flourishes. You no longer see yourself as a victim of circumstances but as an empowered being capable of transforming your story.
3 – Forgive to grow beyond who you were.
Forgiveness is an excellent catalyst for profound self-awareness in your personal growth journey.
When you consciously decide to forgive, you are peeling back layers of yourself. You are gaining valuable insights into your relationships, your reactions, and the stories you tell yourself.
Then take intentional action.
Choose to forgive. Tap into empathy and compassion. Cultivate your emotional resilience. Practice the law of requisite variety.
When you understand that each act of letting go is an opportunity to learn and evolve, you are transforming pain into wisdom and strengthening your character.
When I chose to forgive him, I stopped poisoning my present and future with all those ill thoughts and horrible feelings. When I chose to forgive him, his name and our mutual past no longer had a hold over me. When I actually forgave him, I finally felt free.
Use forgiveness to make a difference
You hold this immense power within you to choose forgiveness. You can instill hope that something better can be possible. You can show others the path to reconciliation.
In the intricate dance of relationships and personal growth, forgiveness emerges as a transformative force. It not only repairs and deepens our bonds but bolsters our growth, empowerment, and self esteem, too.
On the inside, forgiveness acts like a gentle healer—rejuvenating your mental well being and introducing a profound peace from letting go. On the grander scale, you're setting a powerful precedent as a model leading by example. This act demonstrates a level of kindness and understanding that can inspire others to follow suit. The more people choose to forgive, the more compassionate our society can be.
It only takes one person to make a difference, so be an emissary of hope and compassion.
If not on that grander scale, then at least do it for yourself.
Once you’ve truly forgiven someone, your interactions with that person will shift. Miraculously, they’ll also start showing up differently with you, too. But more importantly, you’ll find more inner peace.
You’ll finally feel free.
And that freedom offers you more opportunities and possibilities, than when you were holding onto any grunges.
Cheers to unburdening your heart with forgiveness and creating new possibilities.
Psst, the featured photo is by Victor Freitas via pexels