Q. I often feel angry and hurt with what people have said or done to me in my past. At times I hate them. How can I forgive and move on from this?
Â A. Anything left unfinished or not properly or completely dealt with emotionally prevents us from moving on with our lives. We become â€œfixedâ€ or stuck in our personal development. This is a result of an important psychological phenomenon we all need to experience known as â€œclosureâ€. Psychologically, we are designed to complete our given tasks, stages or challenges. What often prevents us is this thing called unforgiveness.
If you do not forgive someone, you still remember what that person has done to you, and you still hold on to the strong feelings of anger and hate that he or she emanates within you, then you are still a prisoner of the person you are hating. You are still in a relationship with that person emotionally. That person is still in control of your life for she influences your feelings and thoughts. There is still a strong connection between you and the one you hate. You may be having sleepless nights, loss of concentration and depressed feelings, but she is usually fine, has forgotten about you and is getting on with her life.
It is easy to blame another for the negative feelings we experience. The truth of the matter is that we determine the extent to which we allow another person to influence our emotions. It is up to us to give another the power to make us sad or happy. It is sad that many of us decide to surrender our emotional well-being into the hands of others. John Mason expresses it well when he says, â€œYou cannot complain about what you permitâ€. In other words, no one can make you feel inferior or angry, without your consent.
So, what exactly is to forgive? It does not necessarily mean to forget, but the key is to let go, to internally release yourself from the emotional grip of the other person or the situation you were put into. Realise that your personhood is not determined by what another person has said or done to you. Donâ€™t value yourself on the way another person treats you. You remain a precious person regardless of your circumstances or past experience.
South African motivational speaker Mike Lipkin says â€œIf you are angry with another person for any reason, you allow them to control youâ€. They control your emotions, your thoughts and can inhibit the growth and development of your life. By not forgiving, you are allowing the one you are upset or bitter with â€œto live rent-free in your mindâ€. You have hurt people in your own life and need to ask their forgiveness. So, why can you not forgive another?
One of the main reasons is the lack of closure about a life event. If we go through a crisis or a problem or loss and we do not complete the mourning process then we have no sense of closure. There is always a sense of â€œleft-oversâ€ or extra baggage. Where there has been conflict and the two parties are still at odds with one another, there will be no complete peace until there is some agreement, apology or sense of the issue being put behind. There will always be a sense of restlessness and unease until things are resolved and people know exactly where they stand. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org