WE CUT PEOPLE LOOSE from our lives for a variety of reasons. Maybe they have been dishonest, unkind, or simply obnoxious. But even after jettisoning someone, they can persist in the back of one's mind.
Instead of pledging to work out at the gym or go on a diet, for the new year, try lightening your load by exercising the power of forgiveness.
Negative feelings take energy even when you're not thinking about them. It's like a faucet leak. You know it should be dealt with somehow, but it's easier to be passive and let that drip, drip, drip reside in the background.
The process of forgiving
To start, it means taking stock of what has gone sideways and moving forward with an action, like a phone call, email, or even meeting in person. The intent is to share the problem with the desire to sweep it away and start over. It's like giving someone a second chance.
A former colleague did something unethical to me. At first I was hurt, then angry. The anger grew into a general dislike, and mostly it had dissipated until recently when she popped back on my radar. Feeling there was nothing to lose, I decided to tell her how I've been feeling. She didn't even remember the incident, which illustrates how any of us might inadvertently cause unhappiness in others. It made me wonder if I've done the same thing?
Forgiveness doesn't mean condoning negative behavior. The process of forgiving acknowledges the bad with the hope that history won't repeat itself. And just because you've forgiven someone doesn't mean they've regained your trust. In fact, they probably haven't. But it means they might be able to earn it back.
Can you forgive a virtual friend?
Are social media "friendships" important to mend? People can be dishonest by doing things to obscure your view of them (not giving real names, not using pictures of themselves) and it allows them to do things they wouldn't do normally if they were personally going to be held accountable. Giving them a pass is like forgiving the meter maid who leaves a parking ticket on your car. They're like shadows without bodies, and probably best to leave alone.
A lighter life
I like the notion of starting the year with something doable. What's the point of having goals that start and fizzle because they require major lifestyle changes? If you forgive just one person, you've already succeeded because you've stopped a leak of wasted energy and can move forward with less heaviness weighing you down on the path of your life.
Do you have any new year resolutions? Do you feel most people should be given another chance? I'd love to have you share your thoughts.
Many thanks for reading this.
And happy new year to you :-)
Illustration: © Urban Colors