True story: I have a best friend that I didn’t talk to for three years.
One day we got in a fight, and both of us — stubborn as bulls — never brought it upon ourselves to give in and apologize. Post-college and living separate lives, it felt easy to avoid each other. Like children with divorced parents, our friends spent time with us separately. For over three years it went on like this.
On my end, I know that every time I thought about the fight, I felt justified and in the right. I didn’t think that I needed to apologize. But every time I thought about HER and not the fight, I secretly hoped she was doing well. I felt horrible inside at the thought that we weren’t still friends. It was a waste of a good friendship, and not to mention, the ability to look someone in the eye and really know each other.
So one day, I texted her. I didn’t even bring up the fight. I simply said that what had happened was in the past, and that I hoped she was doing well. She felt exactly the same, and from there, we slid back into our old roles with far too much ease. It felt good to be around someone who — despite three years gone by — knew me so well. It went to show that life can go on and things can happen, but ultimately, your spirit remains the same. It is what makes you you, and it’s why when you connect to someone on a spiritual level as opposed to circumstantial level, you will find friendship that lasts a lifetime.
The whole situation was my first blatant lesson in forgiveness. It really changed my outlook, and in a way, I’m thankful that it happened simply for what it taught me. Especially on a day like today, it’s important to forgive. Take a minute to read through my three major lessons in forgiveness, and tell us, who in your life can you forgive? Do you have any lessons in forgiveness that you’d like to share? Please contribute to the conversation in the comments, and have a happy, forgiving Thanksgiving.
Lesson One: Forgiveness means letting go
The act of forgiveness doesn’t involve pointing fingers. It’s not about rehashing what happened. It’s about letting go. You might not even feel ready to forgive, but I encourage you to ignore all the back and forth in your head, and just do it. I’ll fully admit that I still held apprehensions when I texted my friend to make up. I had no idea what came next, whether we were going to be friends or simply civil. That wasn’t what was important though. The minute I reached out, there was an overwhelming sensation of letting go and a strong sense of relief. Reach out, have that conversation of forgiveness, you can always decide later what will come next.
Lesson Two: You don’t realize what you’re missing
Holding onto negative energy makes you blind. It’s really hard to acknowledge how your actions are affecting those around you, as well as how they inhibit your relationship with everyone involved. Our petty separation caused a tear in our group of friends so much so that we couldn’t even remember how strong we were as a whole. Sometimes our friends would avoid us both because they didn’t want to choose one over the other. It sent us all in separate directions. But once the we healed the scar, we were able to be a group of best friends again. The amount of support and love that came from that blew me away. Neither of us had any idea what we were missing.
Lesson Three: Sometimes, you have to forgive yourself
We’re all human. You don’t always look back on your actions and feel proud. I was honestly embarrassed that it took us so long to forgive each other, but I had to get past that. In order to allow everything to come full circle, you also have to forgive yourself. Everyone takes life in their own time, and some of us move to a different rhythm than others. Accept that about yourself, and ultimately, move on.
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