You’re excited about your girls’ trip, packing all the things that are important to you for you to enjoy yourself. You get to the airport, check your bags and the attendant at the desk says to you, “Ma’am, your bag is ten pounds over the weight limit. Are you able to remove some things or re-pack, so that it’s lighter? If not, that will be an extra $100 charge .” You give a sigh of frustration and think, dang I knew I should have left some of this stuff at home. I really didn’t need to pack ALL of this with me.
Holding grudges or having resentment can be a heavy baggage that weighs you down, costing you not only your peace of mind but unwanted health issues. Not to mention, possessing an unforgiving spirit weighs heavy on your heart.
That heaviness for me was in 2002.
I had always been a daddy’s girl. My dad had been incarcerated for a while but when he was released, he was back to being an active father as he’d always been. Well, there was this one particular time that I became very angry with my dad. We had been out shopping all day for my 18th birthday, along with his girlfriend at the time. I noticed that every time my daddy would purchase something for me, his girlfriend would get an instant attitude with him, showing obvious signs of jealousy. This dampened the enjoyment of not only my day but everyone else. My daddy catered to her attention seeking behavior instead of correcting her, this made me very upset with him. I didn’t like it because I felt that it was not right or fair for him to allow her to behave in that manner and I verbalized this to him. Well, after that, I ended up not talking to my dad for several months. When I finally got out of my emotions, I called my dad and apologized to him but 2 weeks later after reuniting with him he was murdered.
My spirit was crushed. I allowed my anger and irritation keep me from communicating with my daddy, my best friend. When he transitioned, I burdened myself with thoughts of if only I’d talk to him those last two months, the extra time and memories I could have created with him. It took years for me to forgive myself for my actions.
But when freedom rings, it is loud and delivering. That is what forgiveness feels like… true forgiveness. That is what forgiveness does, it delivers you. You ever heard the expression: “Forgiveness is for you, not the other person.” Well, this is true, literally. Forgiveness is a conscious decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed/hurt you, whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Of course, you won’t forget what that person has done to and it does not release that person from accountability but it does release you from the burden that it causes on your soul. Forgiveness is empowering. It allows you to recognize the pain but not allow that pain to define or consume you. It enables you to heal and move. Forgiveness is a prerequisite to healing. You shift the atmosphere when you let go. Forgiving someone for wronging you does not require a restoration in friendship with that person but it restores the power and compassion within yourself. It teaches you to operate in the capacity of love and compassion. You learn that you don’t have to hate someone for the pain that they have caused whether it was unintentional or intentional.
It sounds easy to forgive but it actually takes diligent self-work and an inner desire. There is no set time length on how long it should take you to forgive, work at your own pace.
Here are a few steps to assist with your forgiveness journey:
- Acknowledge the hurt
- Reflect on what caused this pain
- Accept that you can not change the past
- Determine whether you are ready to forgive
- Forgive the person. This can be in silence or verbally forgiving that person. Ask yourself what does forgiveness look like to you? What does it mean to you?
- Repair and rebuild the relationship, if it is important to you… Or you can let go. (Neither is right or wrong) Do what is best for you.
Lastly, know that forgiving is not always in reference to pain caused by others… it could be the pain that you caused upon yourself. Whatever you do, don’t allow that unforgiving anchor to pull you down. Remember Taraji P. Henson in the movie Acrimony? The physical anchor was her demise but it was her bitterness that drowned her spirit.
Let It Go… So That You May Live Life And Your Heart Be As Light As A Feather