We’ve all played the various roles in the game of hurt. Victim, afflictor, and spectator watching it all play itself out.
At times, the game of hurt can get messy.
What I’ve learned is all the players in the game of hurt are doing their best at the time. We might not agree. We might not understand. The truth is, they’re acting the only way they know how, at this moment. Including ourselves.
The past cannot be changed, only the way we frame it so we can move forward.
At some point, the game becomes exhaustive. At some point the game is pointless. At some point, the last seconds of the clock count down to zero and the game is over.
Then a new game begins. The game of forgiveness.
Forgiveness allows us to turn the page and move on to the next chapter.
I wrote the following post about this time last year. I felt it was worth posting again with some edits.
If you’re the victim or the spectator, forgive. If you’re the afflictor, ask for forgiveness, even if the other person refuses to speak to or acknowledge you.
Let your new game begin.
Who do you need to forgive?
Who will you have to become to give yourself the gift of forgiveness?
For your mental and physical well-being, forgive sooner rather than later. None of us know our expiration date.
Forgiveness is a reflection of loving yourself enough to move on. ~ Dr. Steve Maraboli
Recently, I had a conversation with a good friend regarding something someone did to them in the past. As I listened to them relive the experience, for the fourth or fifth time in my presence, I could feel the emotions gushing in, over, and through them: anger, frustration, regret, and sorrow to name a few.
My intuition told me anger was still, and continues to be, at the top of their list.
I wondered, how long can they carry this emotional baggage?
Here’s a few ways to unload the emotional baggage and move on:
1 – Commit to forgive.
How long have you been holding onto these thoughts? Enough is enough! Not tomorrow nor the next day. At this very moment, commit to forgive. You’ll immediately feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.
2 – Forgive doesn’t mean you have to forget.
It’s impossible to forget what happened. Acknowledge the situation, and learn from it. Next time, hopefully you’ll be in a better position to not let it happen again.
3 – Being mad at the other person hurts nobody else except you.
What do they say? Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We’ve all had these thoughts. As Mike Dooley says “Thoughts become things….choose the good ones.”
4 – Step into their shoes.
For a moment, take the point of view of the other side. What were they thinking? What prompted them to act this way? Was there something from the past that contributed to their behavior? In any way, did you contribute to the wrongdoing? What could you have done differently?
5 – Your storytelling is feeding the fire of resentment.
At some point, stop telling your story to everyone and move on. Otherwise, telling the story over and over will fuel the emotional fire. In the beginning, it’s good to be heard. Consider talking to a counselor to free your emotions.
6 – Write it and watch it go up in smoke.
A few years ago I was going through a challenging time. A coach buddy suggested I write a letter to the person I was seeking forgiveness from and then burn it. I did exactly as they said. This was a cathartic experience which allowed me to move on.
7 – Turn the page.
When I was a young man, I was going through a tough time. Mom was cleaning the kitchen after serving one of her delicious dishes. “Steven, turn the page!” she shouted. The most important piece of advice I ever received. This event was a blip on the radar screen of my life. One of many chapters. Hopefully, God willing, I’ll have many more.
As Matthew West says in his song “Forgiveness”:
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
Photo courtesy of retired Col. Richard Pugh, U.S. Army.
I’m reminded of your comment on my forgivness post 2 years ago. 😉
“What’s served me the most is learning to let go.
Hanging on to what’s happened in the past zaps energy. It takes energy to hold a grudge. It takes energy to think about the past.
What best serves me is to surrender. Forgive and march forward. I’m so much lighter.”
– See more at: http://letsgrowleaders.com/authenticity-transparency-trust/forgive-and-refresh/#sthash.XIQiQbbB.dpufhttp://letsgrowleaders.com/authenticity-transparency-trust/forgive-and-refresh/
Well said Karin.
Surrender puts you in control.
What a beautiful gift to give during this Thankful-season! Thank YOU, dear Steve!! As a recent (grateful) student of yours at Coach U, I am tickled by getting to know you better through your blog & your sharing. Your heart shines through! 🙂 I’ve gotta say that this one touched me deeply, as I have done a great amount of personal & spiritual work in my life… & over all, I feel that I really have no one left to forgive… I’ve “done” all that work. & then I sat here something gnawing at me… & I thought, Is that really true?… Well, I have no one that I personally know of to forgive. But here’s a burr under my saddle. Two years ago my home was burglarized. A good amount of my jewelry was stolen. 30K worth which is a good chunk o change for me… But it wasn’t about the money, it was about the fact that someone did this to ME. I had been victimized. & nearly two years later, while I’ve done a great deal of work around accepting this & learning some of my ‘lessons’ in it, it still gnaws at me. I’m a little obsessed from time to time, to KNOW who it was. As if this will somehow set me free. Part of me still holds out hope that some of these cherished pieces of jewelry, (my deceased sister’s, or my grandmother’s, or pieces that I loved from far reaching corners of the globe,) will be somehow returned to me… The clincher is that it was such a bizarre ‘crime scene.’ It looked staged. Not everything was stolen. It was as if someone knew me & robbed me w/ conscience. The police believe my ex boyfriend was responsible. That would make sense, considering he gave me some expensive pieces that I could fathom that he would want back. It could have been my pet sitter/’friend’ who envied my life to a degree that was a tad creepy. She could have been capable. I think my point is, that I am still pissed that I ‘invited’ this person in to my life to do this to me. I guess I blame myself. & maybe that’s who I need to forgive… ME… & of course WHO-ever did this. I know that if there is still a ‘charge,’ there is still more work for me to do. After reading this post, I am thinking forgiveness may be a piece that I have neglected to do. It might be time. What are your thoughts?… 🙂 Thank you for you.
Hillary, this has been a traumatic experience.
What’s the payoff to continue to have this burr in your saddle?
My thoughts? Surrender.
Why? Surrendering will free you and put YOU in control.
SURRENDER is a beautiful word…
w/ a powerful connotation…
& yet sometimes it is a challenge to even understand the meaning in a particular situation.
Surrender to what is?
Surrender to the present moment?
Surrender to what exactly?…
& moreover, to HOW exactly?…
I know this for sure, I am trying.
& w/ re: to surrender I sense that effort is meaningless.
It’s a drop to your knees kind of experience…
In the complete & utter & unbounded & unbridled nature of surrender.
& maybe it is a continual choice…
Until you wake up one day & you are living the energy & experience of having SURRENDERED.
& so, I go…
Thank you dear-Steve.
You are very wise, kind, & caring counsel.
& to answer your question directly…
I’ve often thought of what my ‘pay off’ might be…
& I suspect my victim-mentality is having a field day w/ being pissed & wanting to control it.
I think mileage continues around this archetype.
I most certainly look forward to getting off the cross. 😉
AND~being a great deal more conscious as to who I allow in to my life/heart/world.
My codependent is also at the helm here.
I suspect that my jewelry is a small price to pay for some of these wake up calls.
I have to admit I’m bad at forgiveness. It’s probably because I choose friends carefully and I don’t initially trust all that easily, even if it seems I do. Thus, when someone does something that breaks my trust, I never forget and I never trust and I never forgive inside, even if I might tell someone I did. Luckily I can compartmentalize things so that I don’t dwell on it too long.
Although, sometimes when I can’t get to sleep quickly enough, stuff will pop into my mind; that part I hate. lol
Forgiveness sets us free.