Forgiveness begged to be learned the year I quit my job. I had been struggling with my boss, my mother entered rehab and my best friend and I grew apart. I didn’t want to hold on to resentment but I was drowning in my anger and I didn’t know how to forgive. I felt hurt, disregarded and realized that despite my pain, I had to forgive them. I knew the lesson was coming, I just wasn’t ready for it in triplicate.
The lessons began in January when I was called into a meeting with my boss. The goal was to find a middle ground so working together could be amicable and productive. The meeting didn’t seem to resolve anything and I left in tears and frustrated. I realized that my time there was coming to an end.
After the meeting, things continued to get more difficult and strained and then the day came when I was no longer his employee. I felt free. All of a sudden the stress and resentment started to melt away and I was able to begin the process of forgiving him.
I finally understood that we both had different levels of understanding and that was where all of our problems stemmed from. Neither of us was willing to budge, standing our ground firmly. I was grateful for this lesson and vowed to remember it when I disagreed with another person. I released my resentment and sent him thoughts of success and happiness and closed the chapter on that part of my life.
A week later, I was on a plane to Bali. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to write, relax and renew my soul. A few days into the trip, I received a call from my mother telling me she was entering rehab. I was shocked and angry. I felt like a dark cloud immediately covered my trip and it did, literally, in the form of incessant rain during the usual dry season.
The rain did not help me process and I cried just as much as rain poured down. I could barely write and peacefulness was nowhere to be found. I had to deal with a lot of anger, hurt and resentment in one of the most significant relationships of my life and I was on the other side of the planet. I tried my best to overcome my sorrow, but my mind stayed fixed on the issue.
Then one day, she called me and asked for forgiveness. I thought about my mother’s pain and a wave of compassion towards her came over me. I decided that I needed to find a way to forgive her. It wasn’t easy at first but I decided to write about it and allow time to heal. Through compassion and writing, I was able to see a clear path to forgiveness and restoration in our relationship.
With time, I have been able to restore and even strengthen my relationship with my mother and I am so grateful. The bitterness that I had harbored dissipated with the practice of forgiving and letting go. I was amazed at the healing that came after I resolved to surrender to the process.
As one relationship began to be restored, another started to crumble. It happened unexpectedly. My closest friend and I started to grow apart. We had shared everything for years, including world travel. After I left Bali, our relationship began to unravel. I went home to start a new chapter in my life where I went inward and continued to work on things that I had been ignoring for years. She continued to travel and with each destination, our relationship slowly fell apart.
This realization was tough for me. It is hard to realize that someone you have been close to for a long time starts growing apart from you. It was like a branch splitting in two creating two new trees. Each of the trees growing and blossoming, but separately. It hurts. Anger, resentment, confusion and sadness all happened at once. I knew in order to heal, I needed to release the relationship and forgive.
Once I moved forward with the process, I felt an immense sense of peace. I felt a sense of spaciousness, ready to be filled with something lovely. Letting go always creates that beautiful void where what is begging to grow has the space it finally needs to evolve. I learned that to forgive does not always mean to restore. Sometimes forgiving means releasing and letting go completely or for a time to allow healing to occur.
The most important lesson in forgiveness is the peace it provides. There is no peace in holding on to a hurt emotion. Whether letting go completely or restoring a relationship from a healed place, forgiveness offers peace of mind and clarity. There is a lightness that can only be felt once the weight of resentment, hurt and bitterness is lifted. Forgiveness heals and restores the lightness and replaces the weight with immense peace. It is a way to say “Peace be with you, peace be with me.”