There is an old Native American parable.
“I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart,’ a grandfather tells his grandson. ‘One wolf is vengeful, angry and violent. The other is loving and compassionate.”
“Which wolf will win the fight?,” the grandson asks.
“The one I feed,” the grandfather answers.
So it is with forgiveness. We’ve all been hurt, slighted or wronged by our enemies, or worse, by our lovers. The way we react defines the health of our relationship.
If we hold on to the hurt, it will turn to anger, resentment and sometimes violence. If we let the hurt go, we have the power to change our lives for the better.
In fact, as an act, forgiveness is essentially selfish. Research has shown that to forgive makes us healthier – less prone to anxiety and depression, with lower blood pressure and fewer depressive symptoms.
But research also shows that we find it difficult to relinquish the thoughts that haunt us. So how do you let go of those things that claw at your insides? How do you forgive?
One answer is meditation. First find a quiet space and switch off your phone. Let your mind go and observe the thoughts as they ebb and flow. Notice that they are just thoughts, just temporary; a figment of your imagination. Now release them. Imagine them floating away.
To forgive we must first decide to for-give – to let go. Realising we have such a choice is the first step of forgiveness. By feeding the compassion inside us we can move on to a happier, healthier place.
Which is the place that love lives.
Understand the power of forgiveness to change your life, and your love. You don’t forgive for the sake of the other, but for your own sake.
Think objectively about what happened, and why. Put yourself in the other’s place. Understanding is the first step in forgiving.
Once you’re ready, choose to forgive. And keep on choosing. True forgiveness means forgiving until you’ve forgotten.
Next week: G is for Gratitude
MORE LETTERS OF LOVE