Everyone has experienced some issues with forgiving in their lives. That someone has hurt you in such a way that you want to banish that person from your life forever. But does this solve the situation for you? I guess not really. In this post I’ll share why forgiving should not have to be that hard.
When forgiving feels like an impossible task
I’m saying this from experience. A long time ago in my early twenties, I was treated so badly by an interim manager at work that it made me literally sick. All employees had the opportunity to go on a weekend trip to Barcelona with the earned profit we all worked hard for. It was explicitly said during the meeting that if you for whatever reason could not come to Barcelona, you received the cash compensation as a bonus on your account along with the salary. Everyone on the team agreed to this alternative because it was fair and collegial. So did I.
“He replied with a cool look and a gruff voice that I was not entitled to anything at all“.
However, after the Barcelona weekend and after paying the second salary payment after that weekend, I still did not see anything credited. I stepped to the interim manager who had fully implemented all of this to request a clarification. He replied with a cool look and a gruff voice that I was not entitled to anything at all and that there was never something mentioned about a compensation. I didn’t know what I was talking about, he said. Must clearly have misunderstood! I felt so humiliated and belittled. And especially when I already knew that some other colleagues who couldn’t make it to Barcelona as well, already received the bonus. Except for me.
Was it a racist act?
I concluded that this was not only a discriminatory act but also a racist one! After all, I was the only foreigner working there. At least that’s how I viewed it. That whole situation made me very depressed and it not only damaged my self-confidence but also gave me a hard time trusting others. Especially in the work field. Trusting my colleagues was hard as well cause no one stood up for me. I never felt so hurt and lonely before. The next day I reported myself sick and contacted the Association For Sport which I was affiliated with at the time. Because I’ve never experienced anything so strange and dishonest before, I decided to seek advice from a specialist.
My lawyer solved the case. I received both the bonus and retroactively calculated interest. But to be honest, I didn’t care about the money. I felt so hurt and didn’t understand that a person could be so mean and ugly. I felt attacked at my core. The reason I called for legal advice was because I can’t stand injustice. It completely takes me off balance.
I carried it with me to the future as a burden..
You would think that everything was solved and that I could go back to the fitness centre again to pick up from where I’ve left off. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. In the meantime I had developed such a terrible aversion to that interim manager and still felt the rage in my body that it seemed a better idea for me to resign and so I did. Unfortunately, I carried it long time with me as a burden and challenged me to gain trust in specifically managers again.
Not forgiving is like taking the poison yourself and wait for the other to die…
The art of forgiving
It took me a while to really accept what happened and to close that chapter. Back then I was too ‘young’ to master the ability of forgiving so I settled for forgetting. Later as I gained more self-insight I learned what unbalances me and what effect my thoughts and feelings have on a certain situation. Then forgiving becomes more and more a natural thing to do. So it’ll come with time… Forgiving someone who has never repented is the hardest thing there is, I know. Therefore you have to explore your thoughts and feelings first. And how they intertwine with each other.
The biggest insight I had gain from this, is the longer I held on to resentment, the more I was living in the past. Because those “hurts” happened in my past. When you’re fully present today, in the now then there is no past or future. Therefore nobody can make us feel bad. What I also did is viewing the situation through a more friendly ‘filter’ like ‘if it wasn’t for that a**hole, I would never learned such a valuable lesson in life’. That approach really helped me release my inner stacked negativity so it could make room for hope. Hope that he will never treat a person like s*it again and that he will grow wiser.