Boy, what a vast subject this is! I truly believe it to be the most complicated and complex subject because. It has so many ramifications, angles and perspectives, mainly because it is such a personal exercise. Forgiving is by far, the hardest thing anyone can ever do. It requires a strength that is beyond human understanding. Forgiving means letting go of any negative thoughts and negative feelings you have about someone, because let’s be honest, it is always about someone. You are not going to forgive your table for accidentally bumping your foot on it. Inanimate objects don’t have motives or grudges, nor do they hurt people intentionally. People hurt other people. They do so everyday, intentionally or not. All of us are on the receiving end of that hurt, at some point. It is human nature. How can one deal with that? That is the million-dollar question. There are also degrees in getting hurt. It easy to forgive someone who bumped into you on the street but not so easy if someone stole from you or abused you. Certain cases are beyond any rational thought in my humble opinion. We all have heard instances where parents forgive their son/daughter’s killer, or rape victims forgive the person that raped them. I personally do not understand how they do that. It baffles and I am not going to pretend that I know. I just admire that level of mental strength, which seems to be closer to lunacy than anything else. It is noble, nigh perfect. I will never get it, but I can only salute people who do it. I have seen people being tormented because someone hurt them. At some point in my life, I was one of those people. I have hurt people. I don’t take any pride in saying that. It simply is a fact. Thankfully, I did ask for those people to forgive me. Some did accept my apology, others probably didn’t and it’s ok. I don’t expect everyone to be able to forgive people. Forgiving isn’t easy. Regarding those who have hurt me, well, I forgave them even if some of them never asked for forgiveness. I am free of them. Forgiving them was similar to letting go of a heavy weight. It was a burden. So, I did the wise thing: I decided to let go. How did I do it? It was a very rational decision. Applying the decision was hell but I had to start somewhere. So, I sat down and looked at my options: I could either let the anger consume me, burn a hole in my heart, or I could take my time, let go of that rage and move on. Retrospectively and emotions aside, the healthy choice is obvious. How long did it take? I can’t really tell. Did the process hurt? Yes, every fucking day. But it had to be done. My sanity and well being were hanging in the balance and they come before anything else. Boys and girls, I don’t have a manual on how to forgive or to move on from an unpleasant situation, ok? I don’t. I just know what I did. I kept myself busy, dove into my hobbies, I wrote, I hung out with my people, went to the gym more, I was honest about my own feelings, cried a few times (yeah, I did! who cares?) and so on. Did I have relapses every now and then? Of course, I did. It took time because forgiving is a muscle. You must go to the forgiving gym and like any gym, you will fail with some of the weights and you will be tired. However, several weeks or months of hard work, will pay off with new and shiny muscles and better health in the end. You don’t forgive someone because people say you should, or because it is socially expected of you, or because you want to seem magnanimous, or because Jesus says you must or because you believe “fake it til you make it” works (newsflash: it doesn’t!). Those aren’t reasons to forgive anyone. Those reasons do not work and never will. You forgive others because it is selfish. You think about yourself and your well being. The only person that matters in that equation is you. You forgive others because you don’t want any grudges to weigh you down, you want to move on with your life. The more you hate those who hurt you, the more power they have over you. The more you think of what they did you and the more you cannot let go, the more they have power over you. Those who hurt you end up running your life when, most likely, they don’t give a shit about you anymore. You might end up being the only one that cares about the past and what happened. As important as the past can be, it is always less important than the future. You can’t stay in the past. You can’t drive a car while looking in the rear-view mirror, you will crash the car! Forgiveness isn’t easy, nor is it mandatory. It isn’t. Forgiveness is a choice, a conscious choice. It is your choice, no one else’s. Forgiveness is the way to the light. Forgiveness is a long, muddy and slippery road. You can easily stray off the road, but you must come back. Your well being is your priority. Forgiving isn’t automatic. Forgiving makes sense in the long run yet rarely does in the short term. I look back and I know I was right to forgive those who wronged me. Forgive those who hurt you, take their power away. Be master of your own heart and therefore, be master of your own life. Once free of that burden, I can guarantee you that you will smile because freedom tastes so sweet. You will have put them aside, they won’t matter anymore, they are in the past, as if they never existed. They have no hold on you anymore, you are free. They can’t touch you now. You forgave them, and you let them go. It wasn’t easy but you did it. You can let them go. They are not worth your time, energy, money, thoughts or even anger. Forgive them because it is time. Forgive them because you want to. Forgive them because you want to be free. Forgive them because it will make you feel better. Take your time. Let go. Forgive and be happy. Just one man’s opinion. Now smile, forgive them and go on with your day. Freeman. B

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