How This Generation Has Forgotten How To Forgive Others

by Liz Rowley

Do you remember the time that you first learned about forgiveness? Where were you? Possibly it was after your older brother smacked you, and your mom twisted his arm until he said he was sorry, and then she made you hug him and you continued to play. Or maybe you pushed someone down on the playground, then felt really bad about it. You said sorry and hoped that they would forgive you, and usually they would.

But something happened as we left those childhood days. We started growing up and viewing the world differently. More bitter, more intolerant and closed off. We acknowledge being hurt, but we stay guarded and instead of really forgiving we only temporary let go.

Meaning once that person messes up again, you blow up on them and push them out of your life, or you wait until you have had far too many drinks to say everything you'd been holding back on. Resentment is the worst kind of bitterness that you can keep inside.

And once that third shot of whiskey or vodka is down, your boyfriend/girlfriend, best bro or BFF is about to be dug into. This is how we tend to lose people that matter the most. Not having forgiveness in your life not only holds you back from growing, but being successful in your everyday life. There are a few people we all need to forgive in order to become the person we want to be.

1. Your parents

Regardless of whether they are alive or dead, or if you even get along with them, you must forgive them for mistakes they made in bringing you up. I grew up poor, with an alcoholic mother who left me to my own devices when it came to the men who would enter our lives and abuse us both.

I could never understand why my father would let me stay in that condition, but he was raising my other five siblings and did the best he could. Later, when I came out to my parents, they decided to take me to counseling.

I remember the day I told both of my parents to go f*ck themselves, and that I can't help who I am. I later made the decision to let it go, and although my mother and I may never have a real mother/daughter relationship, I have forgiven her for all of the pain she has caused my family.

2. Heartbreakers

Forgive the partners from your marriages or relationships that not only broke your heart, but left you torn into pieces, thinking you will never recover or love again. Because these relationships are so intimate, the passion can makes things intense and threaten to your emotions. Once they end, our walls are up, we're angry and unforgiving toward those people and new loves for years.

Have the personal strength and integrity to say, “I am also responsible,” and then forgive the other person and let him or her go. Tell yourself every day that you forgive them. And those feelings will slowly fade away.

3. Anyone who has hurt you

Forgive everyone else in your life who has ever hurt you in any way. Let them and the pain go. Your brother/sister, that boss that looked down on you and didn’t believe in your ability, lovers or any old friends that you hold hostility towards. You will find peace in the realization that the little things they did to hurt you won't matter in the long run.

4. Yourself

You have to stop beating yourself up for every mistake you've have made. Every silly, senseless, thoughtless or cruel thing you've done or said you have to let go of. Think of it this way—that was the old you. You were not the person you are today.

The secret to forgiving these people is referring back to the memory of what forgiveness feels like. Like when you were little and you first said you were sorry, or think about a fight with one of the most important people in your life. Do you remember the pain they caused you? What was it that made you forgive them? It was probably because that person was so important to you that a fight wasn’t worth losing them.

Remember that feeling. Take that feeling and apply it to the people you have been harboring negativity toward. You don’t have to be friends with a person ever again, but at least if you run into them your body won’t feel enraged, and you will actually be at peace. We only have this one short life to live, so don't go through it holding on to something that makes you feel so bad. Let go and move one.