Friday, February 19, 2016

Living Happy #9: Forgive and Forget

As it's been said many times, holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  It's impossible to have a happy life when you're carrying around a ton of old baggage.  I used to do that.  Somebody pissed me off and sooner or later, I'd get even.   You could count on it.  And I'd never forget.  For a happy person, I certainly had a pretty impressive enemies list for awhile.

It's very difficult to stay mad at somebody--you really have to work at it.  I realized I was hurting myself more than my anger was hurting them.  I'd taken small little petty things and blown them completely out of porportion.  And every time I'd see somebody I was angry with, all that anger and resentment came right back, and I'd be angry for hours.  

I finally realized this nonsense went against everything I believed in--including  my religious beliefs.  As you may know, the Bible has a lot to say about unconditional forgiveness. I let it go.  And since then, I don't stay mad.  If somebody does me wrong, I let them know how I feel about it, and then I move on.  Forgiveness doesn't require the other person to apologize.  Forgiveness doesn't require the other person to forgive you.  And just because you don't believe you were wrong doesn't mean you can't apologize if it helps to mend a fence.  Forgiveness simply means we forget about it.  No harm, no foul.  We accept the fact we're imperfect people that are going to do the wrong thing from time to time, and so is everyone else.  Just because a person is inconsiderate doesn't mean they're evil.  Just because they say something thoughtless, doesn't mean they meant to hurt you.  Just because somebody is selfish doesn't mean we have to let their lack of character become a source of irritation and upset in us. 

I decided I'm just not doing that anymore.   I've always believed myself to be a happy person,  but when I learned to let things go, it was like a weight lifted off of me.   Since then, I've rebuilt many a fractured relationship over the years.  I'm better for it.  Not only am I holding no grudges, I'm better for the fact I have more people in my life.  If you think about it, very often the deepest grudges we carry with us involve the people we at one time cared the most about.  Isn't it a shame to let something come between you and somebody that meant something to you at one time?  It doesn't matter if somebody got you fired, ran over your dog, or broke up  your marriage, the Bible is pretty clear about the concept of forgiveness.   Everything is forgivable.   

Life is just too short, and too precious to spend even one second of it pissed off.

~Todd E. Creason

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