I had lunch with a dear friend from high school yesterday and we were reminiscing about old times and people we used to hang out with. Although it was a fun and crazy time, it was also one of the worst times in my life as far as my self-esteem. I surrounded myself with a lot of people who did not treat me well.
Over the years I learned to take responsibility for everything I attracted and created throughout my life, from a chronic illness to my job situations to the people I spent my time with. I also learned a lot about forgiveness…what an interesting subject. I’ve learned, as I’m sure many of you have, that forgiveness is not condoning another’s behavior, nor is it releasing them from responsibility for their actions. It is for you to have the peace of mind you deserve. It is to allow yourself to let go of any grudges, resentments or negative feelings that are not doing the other person any harm, but are festering within you. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. Let’s stop drinking our own poison, shall we?
I have also heard of many people who transform their hate and resentment into love for those who have wronged them…Jesus was the first one to teach this principle. This is a hard pill for some of us to swallow, so let me just suggest that you send good energy that person’s way and wish them the best if it is too difficult to bring yourself to actually love them.
I have had a lot of people to forgive in my life and although I became better and better at forgiving, I would still not forget, just to make sure I did not let the same thing happen again as a form of self-protection. I often felt that I wasn’t being spiritual by not forgetting those past hurts, and once again, it messed with my self-esteem. Until I heard a story recently that made me feel better.
There was an angry little boy who had a difficult home situation. He was becoming very mean and bullying not only other kids at school, but he was disrespectful and rude to his single mother. She finally sent him to spend some time with his grandmother who quickly took control of the situation. Every time the boy said something mean or disrespectful, she had him go into the garage and hammer a nail into a large board. He was a small boy and this was a difficult task for him. After about ten nails, the lesson finally began to sink in and he slowly improved his behavior and caught himself before those mean words could escape his mouth.
Then his grandmother had him get the board and remove all of the nails, which was an even more difficult task. She told him to look at the board and think of the nails as every mean thing he had ever said to anyone. The nails were removed, but they left a permanent mark. This really hit home with the boy and he finally had a deep understanding about the damage he had done.
I love this story because I realized that even if I were the most pious, spiritual, above-it-all person in the world, those emotional wounds from the past would still remain, and nothing can make them disappear. However – I can choose to fill those permanent holes in my heart with love and forgiveness, not only for those who hammered those emotional nails into it, but for myself for allowing those people into my experience.
I’ve had several people from my past reach out to connect with me and although much time has passed and they might have changed, I still don’t feel the need to reconnect with them. Now I live in a place of love for myself, where I only do what feels good and spend my precious time with people who love and appreciate me. And I live a pretty wonderful life these days surrounded by amazing people.
Of course, it goes without saying that we have all inflicted pain on others, whether we meant to or not. All we can do is forgive ourselves and do our best going forward each day to spread love and happiness whenever and wherever we can.
So let go of those past hurts, forgive those who have wronged you – for YOU and YOUR peace of mind, for no other reason – and live each day in a place of loving and honoring yourself. You will find that you no longer attract anyone with an emotional hammer or nails J
Living Peacefully ™ is written by Tanna Marshall, Author, Holistic Consultant and Personal Coach. If you have any questions or would like more information about Living Peacefully, please contact: Tanna@.tannamarshall.com or www.tannamarshall.com.
To purchase your copy of Living Peacefully in a Big City, please visit Amazon.com
If you’d like to share this article with people you feel may enjoy it, you are welcome to do so. Please forward in its entirety, including our contact and copyright information. Thanks and enjoy!