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The Freedom in Forgiveness

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my time on this planet is that a grudge does most damage to the person who holds it. ‘Holding a grudge’ means hanging onto past hurt with the intention of, some day, some how, inflicting pain on the person who hurt you, by way of retribution.

I discovered that anger, bitterness and resentment were eating away at my soul, while the person who caused such feelings to surface appeared to be unaffected. Of course, that made it worse, and I soon found myself in a vicious circle of negativity that was harming me much more than the ‘sin’ against me ever could.

Whoever tagged the words ‘and forget’ onto the word ‘forgive’ didn’t do any favours for forgiveness! It is neither possible – nor healthy – to forget when somebody has hurt you. In the same way as your body carries the scars of old injuries, your soul carries the reminders of the wounds inflicted upon it.

You cannot forget – but you certainly can forgive. In fact, until you forgive the person that hurt you, the pain will never leave and the wound will never heal, simply because you are keeping it open.

Forgiving doesn’t mean condoning or in any way justifying a wrongdoing. It simply means accepting that everybody makes mistakes and people get hurt and that making mistakes does not make any of us bad. It just means we’re human.

The old saying that you can hate the sin and still love the sinner explains this very well.

It is the people closest to us, the people we care for the most, who have the greatest power to hurt us. When they let us down, or disappoint us, or cheat and lie and behave in a way that we find unacceptable, they have broken a subtle bond of trust – and that’s what hurts!

The only way to really heal that hurt is to go as far as possible to rebuild that bond and the very first step on that road is to forgive the person who caused the pain.

Until that happens, you are caught in an unwholesome spiral of negative emotions and nothing can get better.

If you’re happy being miserable, carry on. But, if you would like to feel whole again, start by just considering the possibility that it might be possible to forgive the person who has hurt you.

That’s a huge, huge step forward – and the only one you need to take to begin the journey to forgiveness.

 

 

In 2015, I set up Horses Connect, a non-profit company based in the West of Ireland dedicated to helping people of all ages, with all kinds of life and other challenges.  After a colorful and adventurous life (career-wise)  I now work with people and horses. I teach and I learn – boy, do I learn!

Horses connect us to our true value and full potential in a unique and powerful way and it is my privilege to facilitate that connection. We design a range of equine-assisted programs for individuals and groups, and our equine team help us deliver those programs.

I am particularly interested in personal development and was blogging about the topic long before blogging became popular, or profitable.

I have a Masters in Writing from NUI, Galway and tons of other random qualifications.

Website

Twitter – @horsesconnect

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Debs
    Debs
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, it is so important that there is understanding of all you have said so it is wonderful that you are sending this message out. Holding onto old stuff hurts the holder more than anyone! There is a wonderful movement called the Forgiveness Project who are promoting these very thoughts and helping people to move forward, they connect victims and perpetrators to enable healing, it is very inspiring and you may like to have a look at their work.

  2. Eileeb Bennett
    Eileeb Bennett
    | Reply

    Thanks Debs, I hadn’t heard of The Forgiveness Project but I’m a huge fan of the work of Tom Carpenter of The Forgiveness Movement.
    Healing can only start from forgiveness – and sometimes the person we need to forgive is looking back at us from the mirror!
    I also love the Hawaian prayer Ho’Opoponopo – ‘I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.’
    We have combined this with equine-assisted sessions and the results are powerful!!

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