“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” – Katherine Ponder “Remember, you don’t forgive someone for his or her sake – you forgive them for your sake.…
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” – Katherine Ponder
“Remember, you don’t forgive someone for his or her sake – you forgive them for your sake. (On a side note, I just read that as “sake”, the drink. I think that means it’s time for me to get some sushi.)”
“Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, nor does it mean that you’ve given the message that what someone did was okay. It just means that you’ve let go of the anger or guilt towards someone, or towards yourself. But that can be easier said than done. If forgiveness was easy, everyone would be doing it.”
There are many quotes online about forgiveness that would make you think, annoy you depending on the state of your mind at that moment, or sound plain ridiculous. But all are saying the same thing, forgiveness is for the benefit of the offended or wounded, it’s not just important, it’s crucial, but as one of the quotes above indicates – if forgiveness was easy, everyone would be doing it.
I have a very difficult relationship with forgiveness, for a long time I refused to entertain the possibility of forgiving because I felt that I would be betraying myself and excusing the bad things that were done to me should I choose to forgive. I love Nelson Mandela, I would have loved to have met him in person and not only watch him on TV, but the first time I heard about him, I think I was 19, we all know the story, I was awed by his heroic deeds, but the part of his story that said he left the prison without any bitter feelings toward the men who jailed him was the part I couldn’t quite stomach. So I wondered how he would suffer so much and so needlessly in the hands of some cruel men, be given freedom, and then proceed to go make peace, who does that? But I lacked understanding, and I hadn’t developed the ability to absorb human flaws, I still haven’t actually but I think I’m beginning to gain understanding.
Mine has been a series of bad sexual experience with men. For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me that attracted or invited such experiences, so I learnt to fear men and avoided them at all cost, I’m yet to have that beautiful experience that people talk about in relationships. I was abused by 2 people when I was a little girl – from when I was 6 to when I was 10, I was almost raped at 17 in my first year at Uni when I went with my cousin to visit a friend of hers who had an accident at her hostel, then I travelled to one of the neighbouring countries for a 3 months program with my fellow students in my fourth year, got convinced by my roommate to visit a guy she met and had started dating, they went upstairs to his room after a lil chitchat in the sitting room and I was left with his friend who was playing video game, well…I got raped that day, according to him he thought I liked it rough with some beating, Nigerian girls are supposed to be fun, why was I proving stubborn? I left my roommate and ran back to our lodge, she started avoiding me from that day, and I left not too long after.
I started searching for answers, because I needed to understand why these things were happening. They say that victims of child sexual abuse are likely to be raped in adulthood, it seemed to follow me everywhere (trust me, I wasn’t putting myself in harm’s way), up to a point that I was almost raped in the bishop’s office at my home church by a bishop because I was a church worker, I would have killed him that day and I think he saw it in my eyes and left me. But no book or online material could answer my questions, what most pointed to was to look for meaning, a higher purpose to the experience – therefore, I began to search for meaning to the experience and every other thing about my life. I wrote to a therapist last year and I said: “I wish I can remember the girl I was before it all began, maybe then I would know what normal feels like and what to look forward to”, but I don’t remember, and even though I used to wish that none of it ever happened, I’m learning to accept it and appreciate who I turned to be and who I’m becoming. I’m still working on forgiving, it’s especially difficult because life doesn’t know when to give someone a break and take a time out, it seems like it just keeps piling up. So I’ve come find meaning when I write and work through stuff as I write, I find meaning as a volunteer, I find meaning as a worker in church (yes, I still serve in church), and I find meaning in my relationship with God which is a little complicated but He’s a patient lover, and for that I’m grateful.
I want to share a TED talk by Mr Andrew Solomon that helped me a lot, it was one of the first I ever saw about 2 years ago, and maybe it’ll help someone too.
Forge meaning, build identity.
Image via psychopathsandlove.com