I was inspired to write this post by my friend Ken Wert of the Meant to be Happy blog.
We are all on the journey to freedom
I believe we all want to be free. I believe there is an innate human need to be free.
This freedom comes in many forms. It can be financial freedom and the ceasing of worrying about money to pay the bills. It can be the freedom to do what you want, when you want.
Then there is an important freedom, which supersedes all the ‘other types of freedom’ namely the freedom from our own suffering, and the emotional pain, which we create for ourselves willingly or unwillingly.
Our pain continues like endless cycles, or at least they seem endless if we have not woken up yet, to the wisdom of what is going on inside us and inside others.
I’m talking about this type of freedom, and let me ask you, who would deny not wanting it?
We are all on the journey to reach this state. Some know it. Others don’t yet. But it is the unstoppable forces of nature, which will drive us to this position.
Then there is the conscious will to help ourselves get there. There are a number of ‘real’ ways to reach this position. Neither one is right. Neither one is wrong. They are all means to an end. But when used in healthy combinations, they can help to reach ‘that end’.
The hurts from previous times
Let me ask you something. How much hurt are you carrying from your childhood, perhaps from when you were in school? Let’s face it kids are kids. They say things to other kids; sometimes mean things. Perhaps you were bullied at school and you’re still hurting from this now in your adulthood.
Maybe your parents expected a lot of you and you felt you weren’t able to live up to their expectations. And having the need to always to a perfect has been carried over into your adult life.
Or maybe teachers just didn’t understand you properly, and when you wanted support for learning, they weren’t there the way you needed.
Hurting doesn’t always have to be from childhood though.
It can be happening now.
You might be arguing with loved ones at home. You may be angry about a colleague not giving you credit for the work you did. You might not have been invited to the party of a person who you thought was a ‘friend’.
A key ingredient
One key ingredient which is essential for freedom is forgiveness of others of the pain they caused us either knowingly or unknowingly.
The truth is the children from your childhood are just that – kids. They don’t always know what they’re doing, when they speak mean words or pick on other kids. Such kids need appropriate discipline, but they are still immature.
The pain you carry now from what they said and did to you years ago. How is it helping you move forward? It’s not is it? Then release the pain. Let it go right away into the distance so you no longer see it.
And as it disappears, forgive those young kids as you’re a mature adult now, and understand that kids do things they don’t understand, and they do so because they themselves are hurting somehow.
As for the adults who hurt you when you were a kid; the truth is unfortunately, parents don’t usually go to ‘parenting 101 clubs’ :-). Some parents are bringing children up with their own deep insecurities governing their lives. This then causes them to treat their kids in ways where there is the potential to cause emotional harm to them. However, the parents are pretty clueless about what they are doing.
Also, our parents did the best they could with the resources they had; even though what they did was in a warped way.
Now as an adult you can see this, right? Therefore you can forgive them and make your peace with them.
Perhaps you were experiencing a learning disability when you were kid. And your teacher wasn’t mature or sensitive enough. However, as an adult you know what it means and is like to be sensitive.
So with your adult mind and body you have the ability to go back into the past and give that teacher who needed more maturity and sensitivity, these very same resources. If you need to do this, then go ahead and do it.
As for what happened last week and last month, or even yesterday; and what that person said that made you so mad. Instead of being mad, you can show this person compassion and forgive them.
Remember, this isn’t about condoning such actions of others. It’s about forgiving them so you can create the space needed to heal yourself, and provide opportunity for those who hurt you to heal themselves too, should they wish to.
It’s as simple as this:
We hold onto our grudges against people, and we move away from freedom, because we continue to hold onto pain.
On the other hand, if we to forgive, we open up the doors to freedom from more suffering.
Why forgiveness really is that important
I once met a person who had been raped and she was able to forgive the person who hurt her. And rape in most people’s books, including mine, counts as one of the worst crimes one can inflict on another.
“How can someone forgive people like this?” you might be thinking.
I used to ask myself the same question. Until I realised, that in order for people to really move on towards their own freedom, even after having such hurt put upon them, forgiveness is a key ingredient.
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