Learning to forgive
Posted 17 May 2011 - 10:18 PM
I have a problem with holding grudges. In the past, I have held grudges for 5 years, 10 years, 1 year or couple of months even. Its something I have been working on, and tried over and over again, but I feel sometimes powerless over it. So I want to know how you deal with it.
I am a person, who likes to give people benefit of the doubt to the point of being naive maybe. I like to see the best in people, and would rather look at my mistake before looking at another's. But there is a limit and once that is crossed, and my trust is broken, I can never let go of it completely regardless of how much i try to rationalize it with myself, or how long i try for. At that point i have already made a judgement about their character (which i don't usually make), that i can't change. In my mind, it makes sense that there is no point of holding a grudge. That person has changed, and they deserve another chance. The past always deludes the present. Anything I see in the present that reminds me of the past, and seems like a bigger deal than it is because of what had already happened in the past. At this point, i have realized it is better for me to let go of people instead of keeping them in my life because eventually i grow tired and bitter of trying to forgive but not being able to completely, and the other person gets bitter as well of apologizing or trying to prove themselves. I am an emotional person, things don't hit me easily, but when they do, they crush me. So i feel i suffer for many things for longer, while it may not seem so from the outside. I think every time a person has broken my trust (depending on how close they are) they had changed something in me, and left a permanent scar, because of which it is probably so difficult for me to forgive. Because years later it still hurts me. (usually these people are those who are closest to me. The more i care, the more i give benefit of the doubt, the more i get hurt, and the bigger the grudge becomes, and harder it is to forgive).
However I know the power and benefit of forgiveness, and how much Allah (swt) loves it when his servants forgive. So I try to force myself to forgive, keep telling myself to forgive, keep rationalizing it, changing my outlooks, giving benefit of the doubt, and sometimes convincing myself even that I have forgiven. I never seek revenge, because i don't believe in revenge. I want to please Allah (swt), and know forgiveness is the best thing to do for everyone. But my heart does not listen, and there is always something there. Although sometimes I feel as if I have forgiven completely, and there is nothing left, at certain times it comes back, or a certain situation can trigger it back, and I eventually end up erupting in anger. Is it an acceptable condition of forgiveness, that to forgive I need to distance myself and never let them in the way they were before? The thing is, if i cared about the person enough, then it is extremely hard for me to let them go even if I do hold a grudge. I will still be there for them, give them love and care when they need, help them when they need, want the best for them, but the scar that they have created in me keeps bothering me, and I cry at night out of frustration of not being able to let go, or not being able to forgive or do anything about it. So I keep erupting at slightest things they do, or keep reminding them of what they did to me, but then when they ask for forgiveness, convincing myself that i have forgiven and telling that i have, only for it to come back later on. (which is kind of a punishment on its own even if i don't want to punish them). This battle goes on forever for as long as they stay in my life until we both grow bitter and decide to go our own separate ways. Now if i don't care about the person as much, it hurts, but not as much. I either just forgive, or distance myself. I guess my problem is that i don't forget, and because i don't forget, things build up, unless i do something equally hurtful, but again, thats relative, and I never let myself seek revenge intentionally. if i do end up seeking revenge, i have to deal with guilt.
So brothers and sisters....how do you deal with situations like that?
Posted 19 May 2011 - 06:55 AM
Posted 20 May 2011 - 06:45 PM
Usually every time I have held a grudge with someone I cared about, I have tried to work it out with them, i tried being understanding and tried seeing their sides, and I have put aside my pride and opened up to them so they see how big of an issue it really is and given them a chance to fix their mistakes. But when they were unwilling to do so, that is when I held a grudge that stuck permanently. Yes, perhaps I wanted justice. But the grudges were never regarding materialistic things. ALL my grudges resulted from some form of disrespect. Something that i felt affected me in long term, gave me low self-worth, changed the way i saw myself, or humiliated really badly. And when I need them, being abandoned and neglected at a very vulnerable stage. Not saying they weren't dealing with things themselves, but it resulted in long term heartbreaks for me.
And while they have changed later on, years later, i wasn't able to let go of old grudges completely even though I wanted to. Perhaps because I was still resolving some things on my own, and there are some traces of it left still. By the time they finally learn, i feel as if I don't even want it anymore. Because I didn't get it when I needed it the most, and i feel as if i grew stronger without it, so whats the point of them being understanding to me now? I know Allah does whatever is for the best and I know many good things came out from it in long term. But I feel i run out of my quota of taking anything negative from them anymore, so anything else they do, is just an add on that i over-react to. So the only solution is for me to let them go completely?
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