I had someone contact me from my past who hurt me very deeply. I’ve always had such a hard time with forgiveness. Holding grudges has always been easier.
For a long time, I was unapologetically proud of my refusal to forgive people. I thought carrying resentment meant I was strong. I thought it made me powerful.
I subconsciously worked hard at maintaining that feeling. All the while, miserable and exhausted because hatred is draining.
I read something in the book “The 4 Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
I am not quoting this verbatim, but he explains that we are all doing the best we can.
We can not fault people for what they do because that’s what they were taught. They didn’t know any better. They were trained to behave the way they do since birth. We are all born innocent, a clean slate. The rest is taught to us.
Your opinions and thoughts will more than likely mirror what you experienced during childhood. So if a person is going around hurting people left and right, it is because they too are wounded. Happy and healthy people look to uplift and empower others. Hurt people are the ones who hurt others.
I came to the realization that I felt I needed to keep those grudges because they made me feel safe. I love to love. I can be very idealistic and I often root for the underdog, even if the potential I see will never realistically come to fruition. Knowing this about myself and from being burned in the past, I felt a need stay angry to keep me from developing warmth towards this person again.
I was afraid forgiveness meant rolling out the welcome mat for my offender, putting myself at risk of experiencing the same hurtful situation again.
I was afraid forgiveness would make me gullible. It was safer continue to actively dislike these people. That meant reliving these painful memories over and over again.
Every time my wound would begin to develop a scab, I’d rip it off. I thought that made me strong and tough. If I fed my hate on a consistent basis, they could never hurt me again.
Until I realized something.
I really couldn’t hate anyone. It wasn’t in my nature to truly be that way. On the contrary, I loved them. That’s what hurt the most. Every single one of them. I was very angry though and that I did not know how to let go of. Anger is usually a secondary emotion to pain.
That’s why I was having such a hard time. I was going against the grain.
As a defense mechanism, I was reliving these memories over and over again. I was fighting who I actually was inside in order to protect myself. All this negativity weighed me down. It kept me sad, depressed, miserable. I wasn’t allowing myself to heal.
I realized, I could allow myself to love this person and maybe feel some compassion for them. I didn’t have to welcome them back into my life in order to move on. I didn’t even have to speak to them ever again.
I didn’t have to hate them, but I could hate what they did to me.
I could have empathy for them because like me, this person was more than likely was also hurting.
Just like me, this person hurt others by acting out behavioral patterns they picked up on years ago and were taught to be acceptable. This person didn’t become who they were overnight. It took years and years of mistreatment in order to create what they had become.
Maybe this person wasn’t the villain I made them out to be in my mind. Maybe being an ass was easier because confronting their pain was too scary.
We are all gifted and unique in some way, shape or form. Some of us can dance better than others, cook better than others, swim better than others…
I think you get my point.
With that being said, it’s possible that the person who hurt you does not have the ability to self reflect. Some may never be brave or strong enough to stare those demons in the face and fight back.
Like you, they may have been battered. They may not even realize it. If this is the case, that is a tragedy. They will always live in a world of pain and misery. They may always repeat the same pattern. Like a song set on repeat.
Once you realize and accept this, you have to be honest with yourself. This person’s actions hurt you. People rarely change, and if they do, it will be because they want to. It won’t be because you told them to. They have to see the light on their own.
With that being said there’s a HUGE chance they will repeat the same actions again. That’s the hard cold truth.
They will continue to relive the same pattern over and over again. They don’t know any different and the ability to reflect and recognize what’s wrong just isn’t there. This is their normality.
At some point or another, we have all been the villain is someone’s story. We ALL have toxic behavioral patterns we subconsciously act out every single day. Sadly, some of us do for the rest of our lives. They aren’t much different from you.
The difference is your ability to look within and the hunger to want to do better. That will never exist for some people. They will continue to live unhappily for the rest of their lives because self reflection will never be their strong point.
It’s okay to love them. It doesn’t make you stupid. You can’t help what you feel. Instead, hate the behavior. Recognize it. Never forget how toxic and painful the experience was. Learn the lesson here, because you may encounter it again in someone else and this time, you’ll know better.
I love this person but I hate the pain they inflicted on me. I recognize this person is more than likely hurting like I am or was at some point. I realize they are more than likely living out a behavioral pattern they were taught many years ago, just like me.
I cannot judge someone for repeating the same toxic acts over and over again because once upon a time, I was that person too. I was once the bad guy too.
This behavior hurts me and does not serve my higher good. Because it is my job to love, honor and protect myself, I cannot allow this person to ever have the opportunity to do this to me again.
I can have that compassion and love, while never giving this person access to my heart and the ability to put me in the same position in the future.
We aren’t too different from the people who hurt us at some point. Maybe our behavioral pattern doesn’t resemble theirs at all. Maybe what they were taught is more harmful, more severe.
We all have one thing in common though: emotional injury.
We were all wounded, in some way, shape or form. We are all subsciously repeating some sort of pattern we witnessed as children and I can guarantee you’ve hurt someone as a result of it. It just manifests itself in ways you’ve probably never realized.
When I allowed myself to see things this way, my anger subsided a bit.
So, if you still love someone who hurt you and feel shame for it, don’t.
It’s okay to love them. You don’t have to hate them. But you can hate what they did to you and never permit that sort of treatment from anyone ever again.
Learn the moral of the story. Don’t let that experience block your blessings and growth.
Love, learn, live and move on. Focus on your healing. You don’t have to allow this person back into your life. Let go of the hate though. It will eat you alive whether you realize it or not.
If you held a snake and it bit you so hard, it drew blood, would you continue to make yourself vulnerable to the animal? Would you continue to offer your hand? Would you lose sleep, time and energy reliving the injury in your mind over and over again?
No, probably not.
You’d realize that that is the snake’s nature. It will never change. You just know better next time, but you aren’t allowing that animal to rent space in your mind.
A snake is a snake. No matter how friendly you are, you can’t ignore the fact that it may always view you as prey. Recognize that, and move on.
This will not work for everyone. I get that. Forgiveness is tough. Some people die never coming to peace with the issue or the person who hurt them. Pain has the capability to be so horrific, the thought of even trying can induce a breakdown.
Changing my perspective worked for me. I mean, the healing process isn’t instantaneous. However, I feel like I’ve begun to release the poison that lived in my body for a long time. It’s a good feeling.
As always, much love to you all.
Thank you for reading ❤️