Up until recently, every time someone has wronged me (such as stolen from me, lied to me, deceived me or manipulated me) I have been angry and held grudges, being the insanely stubborn person that I am. I have a memory like an elephant so if you do something really nasty or horrible to me I will literally always remember. I would be incredibly bitter and pretty malicious towards these people going into the future, as I would believe that they don’t deserve my kindness or anything else I have to offer.
But can I tell you something that I’ve realised through this? It’s seriously exhausting. It’s exhausting to be angry at people and it takes a lot of effort to hold a grudge against someone, or even multiple people at once. It takes energy to be aggressive and bitter, especially when you’re not anything like this naturally like me.
Not only is it really negative and unhealthy to hold onto hatred and resentment moving forward into the future, but it’s just plain exhausting and it doesn’t make you feel better at the end of the day. In fact, it can actually make you feel worse because your reaction was just as malicious as whatever it was they did to wrong you. For me personally it feels like the worst thing in the world when I feel like a bad person because of how I’ve chosen to react to something.
In the last year I’ve changed so much in the way that I’ve stopped doing this, and it all started from changing my approach to these kinds of situations. Yes, I still feel incredibly disappointed when someone does something to wrong me; I try to believe the best in people so it does suck when they do something to show that they’re not the person I thought they were. Naturally I have high standards and I can’t help but apply this to people that I meet and talk to, so of course it’s disappointing when they choose to let me down.
On the other hand, how you react and your response to these kind of situations says so much about you as a person and so I believe it’s worth getting right, and not for their sake but for your own. I’m sure it’s only natural to feel angry when someone steals from us, lies to us, deceives us and all of these terrible things, but there’s something much better that you can do if you’re able to urge yourself to pull away from this predictable reaction.
Instead of your initial reaction being anger let it be sympathy and kindness. It might seem like the hardest thing ever, but keep trying over time when something unexpectedly bad happens due to a person’s actions or words and you will get there. Find the kindness that comes from your heart, that we all have deep down, and channel it towards this person.
You might think this sounds crazy because why you would want to show kindness to someone that you should be angry at? It’s because you need to understand that people who are struggling the most in life are often the ones who lash out or inflict pain (whether that’s emotional or physical) onto others, and they’re the ones who need help at the end of the day. They need the help of kind and loving people who are can sympathise in their times of struggle and internal pain that only they can see and feel.
This is something that I’ve been learning to do over the last year or so and although it didn’t work right from the start, I feel that I’m definitely getting there with practise. We should all be trying to do everything we can to be good people that we can be proud of, and the way we respond and react to situations can contribute to this greatly so why not use it as practise to be much more respectable individuals who have the amazing ability to turn to kindness rather than resorting to violence, anger, aggression and hatred?
Clearly if those people are acting out or lashing out in such a negative way, they are indeed struggling, not coping well with an aspect(s) of their lives and are probably more desperate than the average person. I genuinely feel sorry for people like this because it can be hard on ourselves when we feel like we’re struggling. I’m sure if you’ve ever felt like you’re struggling, you’ll know how crappy it feels and how hard it can be to find the motivation and encouragement you need to keep going so you can see better days, especially when no one was there to help you and as a result you felt alone and somewhat helpless.
Remember that these people who have wronged you were in this exact same situation and although this doesn’t excuse what they’ve done, it does mean that they’ve probably lost their way and don’t know how to help themselves. Instead of making their situation feel ten times worse and making yourself feel like a nasty and spiteful person by choosing to react equally as negatively, you can choose to sympathise and know that it’s coming from the most genuine place possible. You should hope that they find the strength and encouragement they need in order to be in a better place, like you are right now, and then move on with your own life knowing you’ve offered this amazing part of yourself and shown such forgiveness to people who have stooped to such a low level because they’ve lost sight of what’s important through internal struggle that we will never know about.
This change that you have the ability to make is so much more freeing and peaceful than anything you could ever imagine. Not resorting to anger is a great way to keeping negativity out of our lives and to maintain a really positive life that will keep inspiring us and motivating us. It’s about understanding that forgiveness can be used to better ourselves so that we can feel completely free moving into a bright and clear future, full of so much hope and desire.
It helps you keep on the right path so that you never lose your way and therefore can avoid being in the situation that those who wrong us are in right now. You don’t have to forget by any means, but please try to forgive what has been and happened. It’s also important to know that you’re not doing this for them or anyone else, only for yourself and that’s the best reason to do anything in life if you ask me.
Lucy Rebecca x