Fail-Proof Forgiveness: End the Hate and Dead the Past

“What is the mature thing to do when you hate someone so much that it eats into your soul?”

I saw this message on Twitter by chance one recent evening.

It really struck a cord with me… because of the pain and sheer realism that was entangled within it.

A short, spur-of-the-moment message to the world — a message to everyone, anyone, and no one — racked in honest hurt, doused in desperation.

Instinct told me that this person’s self-proclaimed hatred was coming from a place of hurt and suffering: deep pain that had spurred feelings of seething, begrudging anger. What would you tell this person? How do we forgive when we’re overcome with hatred? When anger and loathing eat away at our very Being, how can we end the hate and “dead” the past? Here are three approaches — ranging from highly idealistic, to forthright and more realistic. What approach would you choose?

MOST IDEALISTIC

Be the Emancipator – Free the other person. Why? Firstly, it’s the morally right thing to do, especially when the opposite means acting like an enslaver who intends to hold someone else hostage for their wrongdoing. Secondly, it’s good karma. We all make mistakes — we all lash out, lose our tempers and hurt those whom we love. Some day, if we make a mistake and find ourselves as that “someone” who is hated to the point where it “eats” at someone else’s soul, we should be so lucky to be forgiven — emancipated from our own past wrongdoing.

And, when in doubt, forgiving someone — especially who you think doesn’t deserve to be forgiven — should annoy that person, thoroughly. Forgive them, and let them know it. Be at peace with what’s happened. You’ll have the last laugh, and that should be enough to diffuse the hatred burning within.

IDEALISTIC BUT REALISTIC

Understand the Forced Benefits. Two of the most difficult, trying and hurtful moments of my life were from being on the wrong end of long-term relationships ending. It really sucked (both times). And honestly, I don’t ever want to experience it again (although, I’m sure I eventually will). Nevertheless, those experiences were probably the two most beneficial times for me as a human being. I was forced to grow, to be patient, to find inner balance, to understand who I am a lot better.

Times of severe hurt and pain are highly potent opportunities for reflection, introspection, learning and growth. During these condensed periods, we experience forced growth, maturity, and understanding. As much as these times of pain hurt, we’d never have chosen to live through them otherwise.

MOST REALISTIC

You don’t hate him/her. You hate yourself. Listen, almost all of the thoughts that we project upon others — all of the ways that we judge and criticize those around us — are mirror reflections of how we feel about ourselves. You don’t hate the other person to the core of your being — you hate yourself. Self-hatred doesn’t mean stabbing the mirror every time you catch your reflection — self-hatred can manifest itself in many subtle and subconscious ways, like hyper-criticism, wracking insecurities and strong anxiety.

“Our thoughts are a perfect reflection of our state of mind and how we feel about ourselves on the inside. Resentment towards another, such as an ex-, reveals a resentment of ourselves: we resent how we allowed ourselves to be deceived, hurt or heartbroken.”

Think about it like this: hating someone else to the point where your anger is eating away at yourself is like mental-emotional suicide — a completely counter-logical, unnatural, self-destructive tendency. In other words, you wouldn’t be driven to hate someone else to your own detriment, unless that loathing and rage was actually directed inward. Forgive yourself. Liberate yourself from self-hate. And feel the weight of the world relieved from your shoulders.

What approach would you take? I write not for me, but for you. What would you recommend to this anonymous person? Why?

Flickr photo credit: essygie

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