CHOOSING FORGIVENESS AND MOVING ON

When disappointment and betrayal happen in our lives, we can allow them to make us bitter - or we can forgive and move on. #forgiveness

WISDOM AND CHOOSING TO FORGIVE

As I continue with my Word of the Year - SYMPHONY - I've been thinking about difficult relationships, the damage caused by others, and how we recover from the pain and disillusionment that often results in our lives. 

I think we've all faced situations where someone has done the wrong thing and tested our belief in the trustworthiness of human nature. Most recently for me it was the work colleague who promised me the perfect job, and then failed mightily to live up to that promise. The fallout was enormous for me, but ultimately, the recovery process hinged on my ability to forgive her, and not be caught up in anger and the need for retribution.

WHAT DO WE DO WHEN WE'VE BEEN WRONGED?

Many times over the last year or so I asked myself how I was going to be able to heal from the damage that was caused, and the way my job went from perfect to appalling over the time I worked there. One big lesson I came to understand was that I'm a great believer in justice and fairness, but that doesn't mean other people have the same values. Sometimes life can be unfair, sometimes people do the wrong thing by us, sometimes we don't get justice, and then on top of all of that, we have to figure out how to deal with the  unresolved questions and hurt feelings.

Do we hold to our battle lines? Do we cut them off? Do we seek ways to prove we were right and they are wrong? Do we walk around forever with hurt in our heart and pain in our soul? I know there are times when I'd like to say "Yes!" to some of those questions. I like to be right - but at what cost? Being right might seem to be the answer but is it the best way to move on with happiness and being able to put the situation behind us?


Today I decided to forgive you. Not because you apologized, or because you acknowledged the pain that you caused me, but because my soul deserves peace.

HOLDING ON OR LETTING GO?

I wanted a fair resolution to my work dilemma. I wanted the person involved to admit that she had major problems and was overstepping my boundaries. Even more, I wanted her to change her behaviour and to leave me in peace. What I came to learn from the years of mental and emotional stress in that job is that we can't control other people and we can't change them if they don't want to be changed. The only thing we can control is our response and that can involve taking ourselves out of their range of influence, and then figuring out how to move forward.

Looking back I can see that I should have left my job long before I did, that's on me - nobody forced me to stay there - I chose to. Once I finally admitted to myself that I needed to leave or I'd end up having a nervous breakdown, I then had to figure out how to get it all out of my head. I needed to clear my thoughts and not replay the same stories over and over again. I needed to stop sharing my headspace with someone who didn't deserve to be there.

HOW DO WE BEGIN TO FORGIVE?

Dr Phil is a great one for asking "How's that working for you?" and also his famous "Someone has to step up and be the hero." It's tough sometimes to be the person who forgives when we feel we were the one who was wronged. It's hard when when we don't get that apology we deserve. But is it worth holding on to unforgiveness in our hearts if it makes us unhappy and gives that person power over us even when they're not physically present in our lives any more?
Dr Phil - "How's that working for you?"

WISH THEM WELL AND MOVE ON

My biggest takeaway from those difficult years is to not allow bitterness or anger to be my go-to response. It's pointless and painful to have a heart full of negativity and retribution. The best response by far is to wish the other person well and to move on with your own life. Being at peace, finding a new way of life that makes you happy and content, is by far the best way to regain your "mojo".

I'm so grateful that I can look back now without acrimony - there is a sense of having lived and learnt, of hitting the bottom and then rising back up with a smile and a sense of groundedness and self-confidence. To know that life can give me a huge slap and I can still bounce back and feel like things are better than I ever expected they could be, that's a huge reward in itself. Knowing that I'd never go back is also a relief - no regrets, just a sense of peace and acceptance - and realizing my own worth and what I'd never stand for again.

Don't let anyone bring you down so low as to hate them. Release them from the hold they have on you and continue on with peace in your heart.

DOING WHAT'S BEST FOR US

Focusing on our own mental and emotional health, choosing to forgive, making positive steps towards a happier future, are all positives and indicate that we've turned the corner. I love my life now - I'd never have dreamt that life could be this pleasant, I'm almost grateful for the explosion and its fallout - without it I'd still be dreading Mondays and unloading my woes on my husband. Now I use my time for good things, for love, laughter, joy, and fulfillment - you can't beat that!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you needed to forgive someone? Have you learnt that forgiveness frees your heart and mind and allows you to move forward? Life is a gift and we need to make sure we're enjoying every moment of it - not wallowing in resentment or bitterness.

RELATED POSTS


When disappointment and betrayal happen in our lives, we can allow them to make us bitter - or we can forgive and move on. #forgiveness
When disappointment and betrayal happen in our lives, we can allow them to make us bitter - or we can forgive and move on. #forgiveness

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32 comments

  1. Leanne,
    Great post!! I have gone through what you did but with a family member. I did forgive bit I do have a hard time forgetting...But I am at peace...
    Thanks so much for stopping by!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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    1. Hi Debbie - I think only saints and perfect people don't struggle with forgiving someone who isn't repentant. At the same time, as we work towards that place where we can let go and move on, we do finally find that lovely sense of peace again don't we?

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  2. I felt a huge sense of betrayal by a certain person at my workplace before I left years ago, and to a lesser extent some other work colleagues who were too afraid to speak up for me even though I know they were appalled & shocked at the betrayal. It hurt a lot but with time I've moved on and don't ever think of it anymore. Back then the way I handled it was to realise I deserved better and to walk away. It was a really hard time but I did the right thing and feel much freer now that it no longer occupies and takes over my headspace!

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    1. I think being the bigger person and acting with grace helps us move on Min. We don't have to regret anything we did or said and the person has no justification for their behaviour. I'm so glad you've gotten past it, it's a good feeling when you don't have that person swimming around in the back of your mind anymore isn't it?

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  3. Great post, I like the saying that holding onto a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. It helps me knowing that forgiveness is more about me and my ability to move on rather then letting someone off the hook. It is very freeing and makes us lighter.

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    1. Forgiveness is definitely for our own benefit - when another person behaves badly they often don't have the emotional intelligence to understand the impact it has on others and holding a grudge is pointless in hoping it will change them. I like the idea of shaking the dust off our feet and leaving them to their own poor choices.

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  4. Leanne,
    Thanks so much for stopping by!! I did check out the quote you spoke of and I had been seeing it frequently on Face Book...I do understand that everyone is not in the same situation and for a good part of my life, I was the major bread winner with my husband out of work with factory shut downs and lay offs...I went back to work when my oldest son was only 5 weeks old because we would have had no health insurance and no money coming in as his unemployment ran out...I have been in that situation more times than I care to remember....But I tried to have a positive and happy attitude for my sons sake and also to help me get through it...
    Stay Safe, Healthy and Happy!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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    1. Hi Debbie - I know exactly what you mean (it's a bit like the 'fake it til you make it' concept. Trying to find the bright side even when life isn't dealing you very good cards. I love that there's been so many nice things that have come with the "stay at home" message - there's still so much to smile about for the majority of us.

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  5. Leanne, forgiveness is like a miracle tonic for the soul. I have taken a drink more than once throughout the years and most recently, about two weeks into the pandemic. The cup is heavy and the first sip is hard to swallow, especially when you still have the taste of bitterness and self-righteousness in your mouth. As you well know, processing a toxic situation is the hardest part, followed by the realization that the apology we think we deserve may never come. It is hard to take the high road, but necessary to healing. What I have learned about forgiveness is that it must be complete and true.

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    1. Suzanne that was beautifully said and so absolutely true. I'm learning more about forgiveness all the time and it's such a noble act if it's done authentically. I was challenged on the idea of leaving it to "karma" and hoping the person gets their comeuppance - because that's still a sign that we still haven't let go properly and we still have bitterness in our hearts. Fully letting go is such a challenge and an ongoing process each time someone hurts us - but so worthwhile.

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  6. Great post Leanne, thank you for writing it. It contains so much advice that everyone (yes, I think everyone) needs. I can be a brooder, and it can be hard to forgive. I think it helps people that forgiveness helps the one who forgives. Sharing this on my FB page.

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    1. Hi Michele - I tend to dwell on unfairness and injustice too and I'm learning that other people will often let us down - nobody's perfect (some less so than others!) and choosing to leave them in the hands of God while moving forward with my own life seems to be the best solution.

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  7. Hi, Leanne - Over time, I, too, have learned the importance of forgiveness and moving on.
    Still, this doesn't always magically remove all traces of the pain.

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    1. Hi Donna - you're right in that it often leaves hurt behind - I don't think any of us are immune to the pain that a friend can cause, but at the same time when we respond with grace and forgiveness it at least gives time the chance to do its work and gradually heal over the wound x

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  8. Hi Leanne - Being wronged can be extremely hurtful. But keeping that hurt within our hearts and brooding over it can be corrosive to our both physical as well as mental wellbeing.
    Forgiving someone for what they have done isn't easy. But if one is able to do that it's extremely healing and can be very powerful as well.
    I have forgiven people who have behaved in ways that have not been friendly at all, even though they were close to me. However, I have tried to understand why they behaved in the way they did. And I have tried to move on.
    A good post, Leanne.

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    1. Hi Pradeep - I think when the people who are closest to us disappoint us in some way or let us down, it's even harder to forgive and move on. Trust is such a foundational truth in friendships and when it's broken it takes a very long time to mend. Maybe that's why my friendship numbers are less these days - but also extremely valuable to me!

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  9. Hi Leanne. I shared with you before about my issues with my mom. You are so right! I choose to forgive her, because it's the only way I can be at peace and be happy. Thank you for sharing. I'm subscribing to your blog. I don't know why I didn't before.

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    1. Hi Christina - I think forgiving family is the toughest thing to ask of someone. So much hurt gets carried in our hearts because the disappointment is so much greater isn't it? I think we never truly give up hope of reconcilliation, but in the meantime we have to be kind to ourselves and let things go. I never understand how people can be so grossly awful to the people they're supposed to love the most - but we never know what goes on in the heads of others do we?
      Thanks for subscribing and I'm still enjoying your renovation ups and downs! xxx

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  10. Leanne, You have gained a great deal of wisdom. I did read one of Dr. Phil’s first books many moons ago. I do recall his sentence “How’s it working for you?” Mojo is a great word. It captures a great deal in four letters. I may have handled difficult situations differently in retrospect and stood up more for myself. Ultimately I am in a better place now and the difficult people are still struggling with their difficult personalities. It is often a pattern they have with many people. Hope you are well. xx

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    1. That last point is perfect Erica - difficult people will always leave a trail of broken relationships in their wake and it's their loss. Knowing that we did all we could and then moving on with grace and our heads held high means we'll eventually heal and grow from it (something we can only hope happens for them eventually!) I also enjoy your wise words - I think we're kindred spirits :)

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  11. To coin my favourite phrase from Frozen, you have to "let it go" not so much because of letting the other person "off the hook" but to let yourself off the hook because carrying that negativity around can be soul crushing. It also reminds me of one of my favourite quotes, "you can't change the people around you but you can change the people around you." You're so right, life really is a gift!

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    1. Hi Sam - I'm so grateful for the gift of resilience - finding my mojo again and bouncing back was the key to moving on. Letting bitterness etc settle into my soul would have been devestating - and nobody wants to become the sour old woman holding a grudge for years and years. I love that I can shake it off and not have it affect me into the future - that's a big win IMHO :)

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  12. Beautiful post, Leanne. I am a big proponent of forgiveness and second chances. When you forgive, you bless yourself and the person you have forgiven. It's a win-win. Forgiveness doesn't mean you condone crazy behavior, but it is harmful to your own psyche to hand on to resentment.

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    1. I couldn't agree more Laurie - and I'm learning that I need to wish them well too. To pray that they find some sense of closure and peace and not carry on harming other people. I've taken the lessons I've learned and I'm using them to gain insight into myself and what triggers my reactions - then I can respond more healthily if I ever encounter that type of person again in the future!

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  13. Hi Leanne, I love this post. I had a lot of dysfunctional relationships when I was younger, and always felt bitter and angry when they ended. Some years ago I decided to not only forgive those who hurt me (in my eyes) but also to forgive myself for not knowing better, or for repeating the same dangerous patterns over and over again, and for making the wrong choices in my life. Forgiving ourselves is just as, if not more, important than forgiving others, in my opinion. :-) 'Let it go' is one of my favourite phrases in the world, and letting go, for me, includes forgiveness. It's wonderful that you've learnt so much through this very unpleasant work situation. Be proud of yourself! :-) xx

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    1. Hi Cheryl - sometimes I think we forget (or don't see) our own part in a lot of the relationship issues we have. I know that I probably could have dealt with things better if I'd been more autonomous and more able to put boundaries into play sooner. I learnt a lot about self preservation and what it means to have some distance between me and those who aren't good for my mental health.
      I guess we need to encounter people who damage us so we can learn where we need to gain strength and where we need to build up our reserves. Then we need to let them go in peace and be grateful for the lessons - hard to do, but very worthwhile in the end.

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  14. It can be so hard to let go of what each of us thinks is right when another does not. I understand that well. I too have needed to adjust not only my thinking over time but to understand that we each have our own set of values and they do not always match others!

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week the optional prompt is 21/51 Self-Care Stories. #3. 25.5.2020 But I will take the chance to add another chapter in Telling My Story. Hope to see you there too. Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse - I learnt about people holding different values and expressing themselves differently - and having no boundaries. It wasn't the way I wanted to "grow" but we don't get to choose our lessons do we? I'm glad I pushed through and then walked away with my head held high - then finally put it behind me - now I get to live a better and wiser life, so it wasn't for nothing!

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  15. Great post! I used to be such a grudge holder but I think age has taught me I am only hurting myself. I find it much easier to forgive and forget now.

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    1. I'm getting better at it too Veronica. I think when you realize that you're only going to grow old and bitter if you hold onto hurt - then you look to ways to release it and the person who needs to be forgiven. Waiting for that magic apology can be such a waste of time - better to shake it off and move on with a smile is what I'm learning from all of the little hits that have come my way over the years.

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  16. I wrote a whole comment, then pressed "sign out" instead of publish. Bugger. I was saying that I rarely hold grudges as I don't like the feeling. It's too heavy and poisonous. But in recent years there's a couple of grudges I've found difficult to let go. To let go would require forgiveness and some things are just unforgivable. Definitely a work in progress. xo

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    1. Definite bummer on the sign out thing Leanne - I've done that before too! And yes, I know what you mean about trying to forgive the unforgivable - and that people who we consider family who treat us badly - they're the ones who we truly find hardest to forgive. Wishing you wholeness of heart again as time heals and things change (hopefully for the better).

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