Through my recovery, I have uncovered great anger and hurt at people throughout my life, even those that I love and trust. Addressing this has been important as has standing up for myself. Finally acknowledging the pain starts the healing process.
However, a new problem has set in as I have struggled to forgive. In my heart, I know that it would be the right choice and long to do it. The pain and anger continues to throb inside, however, as I still hold onto a seed of bitterness.
Forgiveness is a difficult topic. On one hand, letting bitterness take root only makes us more miserable. Yet, allowing people to continue hurting you because of the second chances that you give them is also not healthy.
That second choice is not forgiveness but acceptance. Sometimes I forget that important element. One can forgive a wrongdoer but still put up boundaries. A woman with an abusive boyfriend can choose to forgive him but never return to his side.
Another misconception that we often hold about this is that our feelings will change. Someone can truly forgive another person but still feel pained or even angry. Do you think that the man in the video above was any less hurt by the death of his love one? Certainly not! When someone harms us, fear and pain are normal reactions – even healthy ones. Allowing those emotions to grow into fury is the problem, not the indignation and confusion that we face.
Forgiving those who hurt me in the past (or the present) is a difficult task. Tonight, I will have to face someone again that I love but hold bitterness against in a way that hurts both of us. As my recovery continues, this is an area that I hope to grow in to find greater peace.