“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Forgiveness is one thing I struggle with constantly. How can one be sure that they have truly forgiven someone who has wronged you?
What does forgiveness look like? There are people that have wronged me intentionally, hurt me deliberately for their own selfish reasons, and I have been left holding the pieces of their destruction. I have learned to move on from it, learn and grow a little battered and bruised, and carried the burden of those experiences.
I’ll seem to have let it go, but then when it’s brought up, I sense bitterness lurking hidden deep and covered up by the joys of today.
A long, long time ago, someone I loved and trusted did something that betrayed that trust. I forgave this person, or so I thought until years later, it happened again and I realized that instead of truly forgiving that person and letting go, I swept my hurt and anger under a rug and ignored it. This time, it was difficult to ignore the anger but even more so at having been foolish enough to let it happen to me again. I used that pain to become virtually a different person. But had I really ever forgiven? I’m not so sure I have.
A few days ago, someone asked me about it and asked if I’d forgiven and forgotten. I had to think long and hard. Have I let go and moved on? I know I am happy. I know that I’ve moved on. But I’m not so sure I hadn’t just swept it under the rug again. And now, as I see my insecurities manifest from that situation and I battle my fears that are a direct outcome of the pain from those experiences, I can’t help but ask this question today.
I know I want to forgive. I know that not forgiving someone only hurts and hinders myself and my growth. The closest I have come to answering this question is the quote by MLK that I started this post with. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
I think that, for me, each time I think about the wrongs done to me, I have the choice to let it affect me or remind myself of the lessons learned and move on.
Today, I am choosing to forgive and though sometimes it seems so unfair to just let go, I chose to focus on making sure bitterness, anger and insecurities do not kill the joys of my today and tomorrows.
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day.