I recently read a book that talked a lot about forgiveness. Decent book, maybe a little redundant, but check it out if this is something you could use some work on. I’ve found myself in several situations (with more to come, probably) where I’ve needed to harness the power of forgiveness and move on with my life. It’s not a super simple thing to do, but the more I’ve practiced it, the less time I’ve spent in a state of anger before choosing to forgive. Anyway, the book had some good insights, but I like my take on it better. 😉
Here’s one thing that I’ve learned to understand and accept that has changed my life:
Everyone you encounter is quite simply doing the best they can with the cards they’ve been dealt.
Now you can read this, and nod and agree with me- but unless you LIVE it, you’re not getting the point. Start small- there are people in your life whose choices annoy you. They continually make choices in their lives that baffle you, maybe even aggravate you and it becomes difficult to be around them. Now hold that person in your mind for a moment. Forget everything you think you know about their journey and open your heart to accept that this person is trying as hard as they can to succeed in a way that they feel is significant. Furthermore, they’re using the means that they’ve learned over the years from their experience to be most effective in getting to this goal. No one sets out to be a failure, a weight on society- and I personally don’t believe any life is a waste. The problem, I believe, is that we place judgments on others. On both their goals and their means. But the only basis we have for creating these judgments is our own goals and means, which may be just as misguided depending on what lens you’re looking through.
Now let’s kick it up a notch. Who in your life needs to be forgiven? What toxic anger are you carrying around? (by the way this anger is toxic only to the one who holds it- the person you’re angry at isn’t impacted by your anger.) Again, hold this person in your heart and look at them with love and compassion (not easy). Do you honestly believe that this person set out to hurt you, or to make you angry? Or were they just responding to situations in the best way that they know how? If you’re honest enough with yourself, I think it’s likely that the person who you need to forgive was quite simply doing the best they knew how.
My blog is about kids and parenting. The reason I bring this topic up is because I hear so many people comment on the innocence of children in accepting everyone. It’s almost as if it baffles people- children’s power to accept and love all. It’s not actually baffling. I believe that it’s because children have a firm grasp on the concept above that’s not yet clouded by their own judgments.
I believe, and will tell anyone who will listen, as many times as they’ll listen, that we can’t teach our children to be loving and compassionate adults without learning how to do it ourselves. If we want our children to do better than we’re doing (isn’t that the point?), then we need to teach them using tools that we didn’t have. We need to learn it and practice it ourselves first.