Hold those thoughts people.. I’m not talking about the usual ‘F’ word (yup, it is that word that instantly popped into your mind.. and don’t pretend like you didn’t know what word I’m talking about ). I’m actually talking about the new ‘F’ words, which is (drum roll, please) FORGIVENESS. Why did I decide to write this oh-so-serious-not-to-mention-profound topic? Well actually I was inspired (like always) by one of the episodes from the awe-inspiring Oprah Winfrey Show titled "The F Word". It’s originally aired on May 2007 but Metro TV just aired the episode last Saturday -they might have shown it earlier, but I might have missed it.
So the story that inspired me to write this topic is went like this:
In November 1995, while taking a nap at a friend's house, Jackie awoke to find then 16-year-old Craig Sussek and 15-year-old Josh Briggs in the garage trying to steal her car. The teens forced Jackie inside and told her to lie on the floor. Craig placed a pillow over Jackie's head and left her for dead after shooting her at point-blank range. The teens fled, and Jackie's friend discovered her minutes later.
Doctors told Jackie's family she had only a 2 percent chance of survival. After spending six weeks in a coma, Jackie awoke with severe brain injuries. For the next nine months, Jackie lived in a rehabilitation center, where she had to learn how to talk, eat, walk and even swallow again.
Jackie is now partially paralyzed on the right side of her body, which causes intense pain. "I liken it to a thousand needles on my right side. It is constant," she says. Her speech is impaired and she is legally blind. Everyday actions, like tying her shoes, are still a challenge for Jackie. "When I was shot, that changed everything. They took away everything," she says. "But I got it back."
Despite the physical struggles she faces as a result of the shooting, Jackie says she forgives her attackers. "I think I would be nuts if I hadn't forgave them," she says. "I forgave them immediately so I could get on with my life." (from Oprah.com)
Pretty inspiring right and it did strike a chord in me. I’m the smallest kid in my family. So, by nature I’m the most stubborn. Whenever someone in my family said something that annoys me, I’ll resort to no-speaking mode. I have hard time in forgiving or asking for forgiveness. I liked to nurse my bitterness against that someone a lil longer because I thought by doing that I can make them hurt in the same way that I was hurt (have I mention how stubborn I am?). I felt like I'm empowering myself by holding onto the grudge. But just like what was said on her show: ”Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die" (Anne Lamott). And that’s exactly what I feel when I hold a resentment. It’s eating me inside. Not only did I hurt the other person, but I also hurt myself.
So after watching the show, it was like a wake up call for me. I normally got upset just because something that someone said or did to me (often, jokingly). Or complains about small things, and aches, and pains. But this woman, she instantly forgave the man who nearly killed him and left her in the state which she is in now -which is incredibly inspiring.
So, the most chin-strokingly questions that kept poking in my mind.. How to forgive people who’ve wronged you? I mean, It’s easy to say ‘I forgive you’, but how to ease that bitterness that is still lingering in my heart even after I’ve said that I forgave them? Is there some kind of step-by-step program that I can take in order to do that? Well after doing some meticulous research (actually I just type the word ‘forgiving’ on the invicible Google), I have to say that I did come across some interesting articles regarding this matter. One of them imposes me to write a letter to the person that I'm angry at but not sending them. So what do you do to the letter if you don’t send them then, you ask? Well, there are several things that the article suggests:
- You can burn it. Although if you are a walking disaster like me, I would not recommend this option. I mean judging from my antics I might ended up setting fire to my house, burn it down, and then wind up blaming the person I wrote the letter to, thus hating the person more, and that’s not in the spirit of forgiving, isn’t it?
- You can bury it. Although it’s kinda risky because there’s a teeny tiny possibility that the person that you wrote the letter to might found it, and therefore she/he will wind up hating you for writing such letter after you said that you forgive her/him.
- You can shred and then eat it. The article didn't really suggest you to do it, it's just me trying to take the options to the next level. I mean, shredding and eating thing, it's just so top-secrety, you know. (notice: not recommended for kids and people with digestion problem).
Whatever option you choose, it doesn’t matter, because the bottom line is you’ve channeled your feelings through the writing and thus help you ease those bitter feelings. That way, you’ll be able to let go and move on with your life.
So is there someone that you haven’t forgiven yet? Don’t wait any longer. Stop drinking the rat poison. Stop looking back at the ‘small’ things that they have done to you -compared to nearly being killed by some stranger, some of the wrongs that someone did to me look pretty trivial now . Just forgive that person. Alleviate those bitter feelings. Then you can let go and move on with your wonderful life . I have. And it felt good .
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” --Mahatma Gandhi