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In Hinduism forgiveness is considered one of the six cardinal virtues. The theological basis for forgiveness is that a person who does not forgive carries a baggage of memories of the wrong, for the negative feelings, of anger and unresolved emotions that affect his or her present as well as future.
To think that I could go on living, while forgetting every moment of my past is rationally improbable, there are just some things that will never change and will never leave.
How do you overcome the memories of an abusive childhood, a home scourged by domestic violence, hiding in your room because you fear something bad is going to happen?… get out there and advocate; speak for the people who can’t speak for themselves. It seems fair and practical, but that’s not enough, it’s just simply easy to forget what’s truly burdening you, what’s truly keeping you in your past, and that is your resistance to forgiving. I’ve learnt, and it’s never too late, to forgive.
The strange thing about forgiveness is that you are doing it for yourself. You do it to make peace with the other person but as the definition above reveals, the goal is to relieve yourself of burden.
I’ve come to realize that living unforgivingly is eternally unhuman, it’s a wretched curse that only you can dispel to make your life better.
The bare truth is that refusing to forgive the people who may have hurt you, leaves you with unresolved internal conflicts.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend, who I hadn’t seen in over a year, one of the first persons who I met when I moved to the United States. While I was happy to see her, she gave me some news that left me thinking. She told me that her husband, the father of her two kids, not yet older than 5 years old, had passed away. He was extremely abusive to her and events ensued that forced her to leave her home in Florida. It was sad news – there were her two kids by her side who will grow up without a father.
Through all the distress that he might have caused her, she told me that she had forgiven him before he died.
Ever since I had known her, she has always been a very beautiful, intelligent and soft spoken young woman, undeserving of any form of abuse.
But her response to the loss of her husband, also proved that she was a very strong woman.
The thought of forgiveness caught me in a very deep spell and a very familiar state of mind. Forgiveness was an everyday practice for me while I was growing up. I probably forgave my father so many times that in the last few years, I completely forgot what it means to forgive. In theory, it became redundant and pointless. Now, I am at a point, where it’s probably the last healthy thing I need to do before I can move forward.
Somehow it put me to war with myself. I started to question myself and I started having flashbacks. At no point did I ever think that I would grow to believe that I am in some way indebted to my father.
The thought of losing someone is painfully unexplainable. Knowing that, that person had done you wrong would have rationally returned a favor in such time of tragedy but at some point, it becomes clear that its more reasonable, more rewarding to relieve yourself of years, probably a lifetime of guilt, misery and anger by forgiving.
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