(If you can, please read this. If you don't have time, save the post and come back to it when you do have time. I promise it'll be worth your time. This is something we all struggle with. Something we can all learn from.)
I recognize no one is perfect. I recognize a lot of us want to be perfect. I recognize a lot of people get hurt in our quest for reaching that perfection.
I've been hurt a lot in the past. The hurt is usually a result from trusting in someone who was "deserving of my trust" and then "earned it", just to change their minds and treat me with cruelty. This happened in my life more times than I'd ever like to admit. It's been very hard for me to move on from the major loss of trust. It has caused severe trust issues. For example, (1) I still (to this day) CAN NOT do a trust fall, (2) I absolutely HATE closing my eyes (ex: "okay, now everyone close your eyes and picture.." HA HA. GOOD ONE. HECK NO. I REFUSE.), (3) I rarely believe someone the first time they say something... if it's not verified by multiple sources, I struggle to accept it as okay, and (4) I struggle to let people into my life in real ways.
In my life, I have judged and hated those who caused me pain. I end up forgiving their action but I still couldn't forgive them. In their quest for perfection, they may have made a mistake. They made their choice. My interpretation was that it was an unfortunate one-- they hurt my feelings or the feelings of someone else in their path. They may have offended someone or lost the trust of a friend or colleague as a result of that mistake.
One thing I just realized (I know, it took me long enough, right?) is that we are ALL guilty of hurting others during our own personal journeys. I am 100% positive we have all made someone question our motives; feel hurt by something we've said or done; disrespected someone; etc. and I am 100% sure we will ALL do it again, probably multiple times in our lives.
Thing is... we're human. Each and every one of us. We are imperfect beings. We make mistakes. We hurt people when we make choices. But we also lift people, we can strengthen them, we can build them. You see, I was told recently that we (usually) will make the best decision we can in any given moment. Because of that, should I really hold onto any feelings of hate or frustration? Should I avoid forgiveness to someone who is just as imperfect as me? .... Shouldn't I give them the same courtesy that I expect them to give to me? We CAN choose to forgive the action AND the person who performed the action as well.
Driving through southwest Virginia recently, I was reminded of two different events that occurred when I was 15 and 20 down in this area. In both of these situations I put a lot of trust in one thing or person just to feel I had my back stabbed right when I least expected.
But, what I did not recognize (until now) is that as mad and frustrated and HURT as I was/am... I know I am guilty of causing pain/anger to many throughout my journey. I was fortunate enough to witness repetitive forgiveness applied to my unkind actions. There were/are individuals who showed me that forgiving is not only possible, but that it can heal. They taught me this through their example. Simply by the way they live their lives, they changed mine.
So please, before you get up off your phone/computer and go back to the day-to-day you've become so used to. Please remember this:
1. Please do not judge others. You have not walked a day in their shoes, let alone lived their life. You do not know why they do what they do or say what they say.
2. If you are offended or hurt by something or someone, some words said or some action performed, first remember that you are not perfect and neither are they. Their actions/words have hurt you but you have the power to react to that. You can choose to be offended for years to come. You can choose to be hurt and hold onto that hurt. You can choose to hold onto the pain you feel. You can choose to hate the person who caused you pain.
You can choose to feel that pain and then let it go. You can choose to forgive the action and the person and allow yourself to move on to a brighter future. It is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. BUT allowing yourself to move past the hurt and pain and anger is freeing, it is relieving. A better future with happiness and peace is possible. Although you were hurt/offended and you can't always stop that from happening, how you react to that offense, is 100% up to you.
3. Remember to love. We are all on this journey through life together. We all have ups and downs. We all have pain and feel hurt. We all experience joy and happiness. We each feel sorrow and loss. We feel betrayed and get offended. Not one of us is perfect or superior to another. We are ALL imperfect. We ALL make mistakes. We should remember that. We should focus on what we can do, how we can react, and use our ability to love and forgive to overpower our ability to hate and be offended.
So if you feel offended in some way right now; if you are currently experiencing pain or sorrow in your life; if you are holding onto a hurt that is weighing you down.... PLEASE try to fight the natural instinct we all have to hate the action that hurt us and the person who performed it. And try to do what you can to combat it.
Choose to remember that we are all imperfect. Choose to realize that we each have offended others possibly just by having the beliefs we do. Choose to be as happy as you can right now. Choose to LOVE your fellow man. Choose to be who you know you can be. Choose to find joy in the journey.