Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Power to Forgive

"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters." – Epictetus 

By: @girl_novelist

I once held a grudge against someone for three months over something hurtful she said to me. I carried that grudge around like it was my suit of armor. It justified my bitterness. I’d go to sleep at night and allow this grudge to take up refuge in my dreams. I’d wake in the morning and further allow it to accompany me through the day and diminish my spirit.  To sum up this span of time – I wasted three good months of my life. 

Forgiving someone is hard. At that moment of giving in, you feel like you’re selling out. So, you hold tight to your ideals for the sake of standing your ground and you wait for that moment when vindication seeps in and makes you feel good again. 

I waited three months for this person to apologize for her hurtful words. The apology never arrived. Instead, I was left with nothing more than a dreaded feeling that I had lost a battle and she had won. 

Then one day I was having lunch with a good friend of mine, complaining about how much worse I felt towards this person still after three long months. My friend placed her fork down, then reached out for my fork and placed mine down, too.  She grabbed hold of my hands, stared me straight in the eye and begged me to let go.  “Be the better person and forgive her.”

The pressure of my three-month burden suddenly suffocated me.  I wanted to let go. 

The weight of carrying around this anger for so long had created such an imbalance, such a burden, such an emotional drain on my soul that suddenly I needed to shed it. I wanted to sleep a full night again. I wanted to wake up feeling light and happy. I wanted my peace back. 

I spent one whole week writing and rewriting an email to this person trying to find the right words to describe the pain she had caused me, and how I wanted to just move on and forget everything. These drafts grew to the size of a chapter, stretching out for thousands of words. Every new draft seemed to negate the very thing I was trying to do. I was telling her how wrong she was and how I was going to be the one to set it right.  She’d never read this and think, yeah, let’s hug now and be best of friends again.   

So, a week later, thousands of words into it, I decided on this instead: “I miss you and I love you.” 

I hit send and the weight of the world fell from my shoulders. 

I learned that sometimes the best way to show your strength is to be humble with it and come in like a gentle breeze. 

Wishing you lots of peace, 

I feel it's critical to support the community, and so I've committed to donate a portion of my book sale proceeds to Chely Wright's LikeMe foundation ( to help provide support, resources and education to LGBT individuals, and their families and friends.


J'ai La Peche said...

Here here! :) x

Rusty Trombone said...

That's immense of you. I wish I could be that big. I do bear grudges and have at last 3 people that if I ever see their sorry asses again I will gladly punch. But I don't let it eat me up. Some people are better forgotten than forgiven xxx

Suzie Carr - novelist said...

Hi Rusty, thanks for sharing and being candid;) XOXO

Natalie Alner said...

I loved your post. I can also relate completely as at some point I managed to hold a grudge for two years. It ate me inside and I didn't even realise what was happening. I forgave them eventually and when I did it was as if a heavy burden lifted.

Brandon Harrison said...

This is really awesome! I wholeheartedly agree! Sometimes, it's just better to let go. Not just for the sake of the friendship, but for your sake as well. :) It's something that we all are still working on, some of us have it down packed. Personally, I'm taking it one step at a time. Great thoughts! Loved it!

Anonymous said...

Hello Suzie. Another great blog. I can honestly say I have not ever held a grudge against anyone. Weird I know. Well, I shouldn't say that, I have held a grudge against myself and still do. To this day I am trying to forgive myself for not being true to others and myself for many years. Up until last year I finally was truthful to friends family and myself. Now it is just a matter of finding that inner peace and forgiveness. Which I know will come one day soon. Thank You for the inspiring words. Hugs, Cindy Lou Kuz 15

Suzie Carr - novelist said...

Thanks to all of your wonderful, supportive comments on this post;) I love the interaction and feedback!


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