Monday, March 28, 2016 8:46:16 AM Australia/Sydney

Why Everyone Deserves Forgiveness

It's almost impossible to know how to forgive someone when you don't want to; the resentment often serves as a reminder that makes us armour our hearts and shut down from the human race.

They say that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die; yet many of us hold onto hurts, resentments and betrayals for dear life as if letting them go will somehow mean the person who wronged us gets away with their actions scot-free.

If you’ve ever been hurt or betrayed by another person you’ll know how seductive the thought of getting revenge is. When someone hurts us, the knee-jerk reaction is to hurt them back.

This is unskilful for a number of reasons; firstly, responding to anger with anger is like pouring oil on water; it perpetuates the energy of anger and pollutes your mind.

Secondly, it stops you from moving on from this experience in a way that is constructive and helpful. You may be holding onto your resentments for all the wrong reasons; but you can choose freedom at any time.

Forgive Others For Yourself

Why forgiveness is essential to your happiness

When you forgive another person for their wrongdoings you aren’t doing it for them; you are doing it for yourself. Anger, bitterness and resentment, while appropriate and unavoidable in this kind of situation, rarely do anything but cause unhappiness and illness in the long-term.

You may be worried that if you forgive your enemy, they will win; yet when you hold onto the anger (and hurt yourself in the process) they are already winning.

On the other hand you may believe that holding onto your pain will make sure it never happens to you again. This is not true; you can keep the learning from this experience and let go of the negativity at the same time.

I’m not suggesting you go out and have a beer with the person who has betrayed you. You can choose to never see them again if that is your wish; but releasing yourself from the destructive feelings is just about the smartest thing you can do for your own happiness and health.

Hurt People Hurt People

When you’re seething with anger and resentment it can be easy to imagine that the person who caused your pain is off somewhere, laughing at you and having a wow of the time.

This kind of black and white thinking is never helpful and rarely a true indication of reality. What’s most likely happening is that this other person is probably really unhappy and doesn’t have the capacity to care of themselves let alone take care of you.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it beautifully when he said: “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

Happy people don’t hurt other people. Your enemy is suffering much more than you may have imagined.

Listen To This Podcast To Learn More:

(Thanks to Longzijun for the introduction music)

We’re All Just Muddling Along

Maya Angelou’s quote “when we know better, we do better” certainly rings true for most people. If you are a human being living a normal human existence, there’s a very good chance you’re going to hurt another person, and probably more than once.

We’ve all done things we regret. We’ve all reacted in anger or irritation and said things we would have preferred not to. When I look back on the first 30 years of my life, I cringe at some of the things I did and said. I know better now because I see yesterday through today’s eyes. I forgave myself for my wrongs and you can do the same.

Being happy means letting go of the false belief that people should share the same values as we do. The fact is that there will always be people in the world who see things differently.

You don’t have to like those people or agree with their behaviour, but accepting that we’re all prone to human error makes forgiveness a little easier to practise.

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