Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Friday, August 5, 2011

The power of forgiveness…

Forgiveness...I have not always been good at it, especially when it comes to forgiving myself. Indeed, there have been decades where I have punished myself, even long after I can no longer really remember what my mistake was. I try to be forgiving to others. In fact, I forgive my mother for making that horrible hossenpheffer stew with those cute furry little bunnies that Dad shot during rabbit season when I was a teenager. I know it was many years ago, but I thought the taste would never leave my mouth. I wouldn’t say I’m emotionally scarred over the experience, but let's just say anything made with "bunny" is not at the top of my favorite dishes.

My cross to bear in this life is a very hot temper. Thank goodness I also have a very long fuse, and it takes me some time to get to the point of no return, but when I do, the results can be catastrophic and my response can be pointedly mean-spirited and ugly. I try to dial it back when it comes to my anger, but I’m not always successful. Most often, the best course of action for me would be to step back, breathe deeply, and forgive. Setting someone’s hair on fire, or hiding explosives under their car is generally not an appropriate response, and usually a bit overkill. I must admit, I have never actually planted explosives or set someone ablaze (although I have dreamed about it), but the damage I have done with my words is often just as effective, maybe even more so. Words cut, they open wounds and make people bleed on the inside, where it counts the most. Words can last a lifetime, long after the outward damage seems to have disappeared.

I have also found that it is also just as hard to ask for forgiveness. We all screw up – sometimes in very big ways. It is a monumental task for most people, because we know that while we can apologize in the most heartfelt way, it does not guarantee that our apology will be accepted. No one likes rejection, and no one likes to think that somehow their transgression is completely and unequivocally unforgivable. Yes, it may be natural for us to personally forgive others but we live in a very unforgiving world - one that has a very long memory, and a tendency to want to punish others in the worst of ways for a lifetime.

Arguments happen, feelings are hurt, and tears fall. People inflict pain on each other, sometimes even when they don’t mean to do it. My point is that it is much easier and more personally satisfying to grant forgiveness and move on in a positive way. Simply learn from the experience. It is equally important to ask for forgiveness. Even if your apology is cast aside, at least you know that you were “man” enough to admit your fault, and strong enough to show the rest of the world that you fear nothing, not even your own weakness.

Just some food for thought…I was feeling very philosophical today.

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