To my parents, who taught me the ways of forgiveness.
Francis Bacon, English philosopher and essayist (1561-1626), said that "revenge makes us like the enemy; forgiveness makes us superior to him."
Throughout history, forgiveness has been extolled by religions and philosophies, atheists and Christians, and especially desired by sages. It is said that you need to forgive to move forward. But it is not easy to understand why forgiveness is so essential in life, or to believe that there is no peace without forgiveness. Apparently, so much exaltation seems to make forgiveness an overvalued concept. Is it so?
The truth is that every human being seeks forgiveness at some point: either to be forgiven or to have to forgive the mistakes, hurts, harsh words, incisive gestures, foolish attitudes, thoughtless behaviors, abrupt departures, violent ruptures, absenteeism, resentments, hidden anger, forbidden desires...
Eventually, you must forgive yourself, well before forgiving others.
Some people are unable to forgive and go through life accumulating grievances and generating intense and unnecessary suffering. Spiteful people are always unhappy people. The smaller the ability to forgive, the greater the inevitability of misery.
To make a brief analogy: people are like houses. Over the years they keep things inside, filling the memory with images and emotions. The lack of forgiveness causes them to keep grudges, grievances, sadness, anger – the garbage of emotions, and just like a home that is filled with random useless objects, the light goes out and places become dark, ugly and untidy.
Forgiveness is a kind of wind which airs everything inside, it is a redeeming light. It is the equivalent to throwing out everything that is bad to create new and spacious interiors. It is like the sun that enters through the windows to illuminate everything and cast away the darkness.
But the paths to forgiveness are violent, painful, slow and difficult. Because forgiveness is an act of love coming straight from the heart, in situations where the heart is filled with everything but love, in hours when anger, hatred, resentment and hurt fill the heart.
In order to forgive it is necessary, first of all, to want to forgive. You need to touch wounds, and sometimes to open them again. Forgiving is not forgetting. It is a state prior to forgetting: it is when the memory is still raw, and there is pain, anger and resentment - that is when it becomes vital to forgive. And we know that forgiveness is necessary precisely because there is pain - when you forgive the pain goes away.
Forgiveness is essential for a happy future. There is no future without forgiveness. Those who do not forgive become prisoners of the past, feeding what is the cause of their suffering and just allowing people who have hurt them to continue participating in their life.
Forgiveness is freeing up, it is to be greater than the hurt and bitterness, it is to have control over your emotions. It is to find the best in you, to be noble and to overcome the easy feelings of anger and resentment. Forgiveness is the opposite of humiliation, insult, screaming. It is a sincere and silent gesture, which should not be flaunted – just like generosity. Forgiving depends solely on each and every one of us and it is what makes the pain lighter, the errors smoother, the anger softer and the enemies tamer.
|Juan Luis Vives|
Because of all this, forgiveness is not overvalued. It is the foundation of serenity, and a gesture of true freedom and strength. Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) argued that "the weak never forgives, forgiveness is one of the features of the strong."