Around 5:00 each morning, I write three pages in a journal. I’ve been doing this for almost a year, and it seems to bring clarity, focus, and inspiration to my life. The other day I found myself writing about an incident that occurred several years ago.
Someone who I considered a friend said something to me that seemed to be such a put-down that writing about it now brought back a flood of painful emotions. I thought I was “over it”, but thinking about that person now made me feel the closest thing I think I’ve ever felt to hatred. I obviously wasn’t over it.
So, here I was sitting with these awful emotions brought to the surface by my writing. What was I going to do with them? I suppose I could have stuffed them again and tried to forget about them or deal with them some other time. I decided though to deal with them now. I didn’t want to feel hatred for anyone.
When people say something to me that I don’t like to hear, I usually try to see if there is some truth to what they are saying. Is there something I need to hear, something I can learn about myself, some way I can grow? The only lesson I could see here was the lesson of forgiveness. People obviously say thoughtless things sometimes. I certainly have. This person probably doesn’t even remember her remarks and probably doesn’t know the effect they had on me.
Could I just release those feelings I had, the sting that came along with her words? I could be willing to try. As I made that decision, all of a sudden I could see that her words didn’t change the person I was one bit. Who I was, who I was created to be would always remain the same. Hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness only servc to cover up and hide the real beauty and treasure in a person.
There are probably as many ways to forgive as there are people on earth. When you make the decision, it seems to me that God steps in and supplies the way, the tools necessary to actually follow through. The realization of the real me helped me to release my negative feelings.
I may never see the person again whose words cut into me years ago. She has moved away, and we haven’t stayed in touch. Somewhere in my subconscious, though, I had stayed connected to her by a rope I’d woven out of bitterness and resentment. I wanted to let that go and be free from it. I didn’t want that rope wrapped around my heart squeezing out the life, peace, and joy that should be there. I guess I learned a valuable lesson from this person. Maybe I should thank her! (I don’t think I’ll go that far though.)