If life was governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation, our humanity would suffer. Do we truly forgive injury in the presence of those who caused the injury? We don’t always have to forgive to get better, and don’t believe anyone who is trying to tell you otherwise. You are a real priority, so release your emotions in positive ways that don’t fester until you explode.
Looking back in history many philosophers have ignored or dismissed the moral relevance of human emotions, others such as Aristotle have noted the importance of anger to a good life. While anger is a “negative” emotion, it benefits those looking to flourish. Anger helps us recognize when injustice occurs and motivates us to action, attempting to correct wrongs inflicted on innocent parties. (or ourselves)
Listen to Aesop’s Fable of the Countryman: A Countryman’s son accidentally trod upon a Snake’s tail. The Snake turned and bit him and the son died. The father, in a rage, got his ax, and pursued the Snake, cutting off part of its tail. The Snake, in revenge began killing the Farmer’s cattle. The Farmer thought it best to make it up with the Snake, and brought food to the mouth of its lair, and said: “Let’s forgive and forget. Perhaps you were right to punish my son, and take vengeance on my cattle, but surely I was right in trying to revenge him. Now that we are both satisfied why should not we be friends again?” “No, no,” said the Snake; “take away your gifts, you can never forget the death of your son, nor I the loss of my tail.”
Forgetting may not always be possible, but hurts are not something to dwell on. Forgive yourself and learn. Forgiveness for me includes humor, and I’ve learned 6 important things to create my own hilarious culture of forgiveness.
Impose Your Bitchcraft
Bitchcraft: The art of smiling sweetly while seething underneath. Passive aggressive repressed anger is a good thing right? It works to relieve your own stress and walk away, but sometimes “Oh you meanie-head.” just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes there’s a need to tell the truth. The whole truth. And sometimes there’s a need to get off your Unicorn and slap someone, so use your bitchcraft accordingly.
Obscene Gestures Are Accepted
When peoples’ words don’t match their actions, fly that big red flag, and let others know too. Just because someone repeats a lie long enough, doesn’t make it truth. While you may be silently judging me right now, sometimes a middle finger, brush under the chin, or a good ol’ butt cheek mooning can help your forgiveness along.
Life is Not Fair – Learn That Lesson
Revenge has few or no practical or moral benefits, I think this can be scientifically proven, right? Other than a temporary sense of (misplaced) satisfaction, payback accomplishes nothing of importance for us. While life sometimes seems like one big inspirational life quote, it’s impossible to live without experiencing failure, pain, and anger. Life is unfair, that’s why we have dreams. So get up, thrive, and do it all over again. Be fair, be understanding, but don’t be a fool.
Don’t Try to Explain Yourself – Give Em’ Hell and Move On
If you’ve ever tried to explain yourself to someone who isn’t sorry, doesn’t accept responsibility and doesn’t change behaviors, you’ll understand you can’t be angry if they don’t have the capacity to change. People inherently know that change leads to the unknown, and most feel the unknown is much more painful than staying the same. People may be uncomfortable with your wins, your independence or your honesty. Forgiving and forgetting? I’m not Jesus, and I don’t have Alzheimer’s. Let them know it, and move on.
Loosen the Bolts on Those Bridges – You Won’t be Walking There Again
If you have to loosen the bolts to separate yourself from toxicity or swim under burned bridges because they were messed up to begin with, learn the butterfly stroke. We’ve all heard we should not burn bridges, however there is a difference about the practicalities of breaking negative power and being taken advantage of. Do no harm, but take no shit.
At times we live among the wolves, and our souls are too gentle to tolerate it. Most of us have suffered a personal injustice to our emotions and values, or experienced a negative shift that altered our lives.
In the end you don’t need to re-injure yourself. Stay way from those who have caused pain and recognize the signs in advance. Forgive and forget is not always possible without a lobotomy, but living a good life is. The secret; stay away from toxicity and spend time with those who inspire. There are still plenty out there. They are gems. Find them, and keep them. Thrive in forgiveness, your way, don’t drown in anger.