One of the most important things for us to do is to forgive. I think that sometimes when I think about life and things that happen, I can get so caught up in what people do that upsets me and the things people say that can hurt me. But rarely am I enthralled in a feeling of forgiveness. If we all spent more time forgiving others and less time grudgingly thinking about what they have done, we would feel way less upset about past situations and way more hopeful about the future.
Tonight I invited two of my friends over. They are both currently working at the newspaper I edited for last year. Somehow, a series of articles I wrote over a year ago came up. We talked about the backlash and about how it made me feel. During the aftermath of the publication of the articles, I felt so saddened, bullied, harassed, humiliated — the negative feelings go on and on. But it wasn’t until when I reflected on it today that I realized (in my head, that is, I did not tell my friends this, though I should) that I truly forgive and have moved on from the events and feelings that transpired over a year ago.
I remember coming back to my boyfriend’s dorm room crying about what people had said about me and feeling so afraid about the repercussions of the articles. I remember feeling so hurt by others’ words. But at the end of the day, that is all they are: words. Sure, I will wholeheartedly admit that words can hurt. Words have hurt me my whole life! I have been bullied and harassed in school for as long as I can remember. For some of us — and if you have ever been bullied, you know what I mean — it just happens. And we have no control over it.
But while words can hurt, they can also heal. And sometimes, our healing words cannot come from others; they can come from ourselves, in our own heads and hearts, and they can come in the form of forgiveness.
While I was talking to my friends about everything that happened over a year ago, I told the story without having to relive or re-feel the pain and sadness that I felt back then. And I do not think it is because I just gradually moved on; I think it is because, deep in my heart, I felt forgiveness. I felt like a weight had been lifted, and that I was the one who lifted it. I realize now that I forgive everyone who hurt my feelings after the articles came out. Because even if they were trying to tear me down or make me feel small or insignificant or like a completely ignorant jerk, I am still okay. I am still 100% me. I am a whole person. And I can forgive the situation and feel me. I can forgive others and still be me. And that is the best feeling: to know that you can be kind to those who have hurt you in the past and still be 100% yourself, possibly even better.