When to Forgive
“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
~ Oprah Winfrey
I just came back from Brazil after visiting my grandma and the rest of my family. It was a quick last minute trip that I decided to take because my 86 year old grandma is very sick in the hospital (mitral valve not working).
It is so hard to live far away… I know I miss my family so much when I’m not there for their birthdays, weekly dinners, get togethers, BBQ’s, etc, but this time was specifically harder because a family member – my grandmother – had been in the ICU for about 1 month.
All I could think about was my family for that whole month because everyone was trying to make ends meet to stay with my grandma at the hospital. She gets very scared every time she is alone. So me being thousands of miles away without much information was torturous and that’s why I decided to travel.
So you now you may be thinking: what does all of this have to do with forgiveness?
Well… my grandma wasn’t necessarily this heart-warming, dinner-cooking, cute little grandma everyone thinks about when they hear the word “grandma” to me when I was young. I’m not going to go into details because it’s not the case, but just so you have an idea of what I mean, I have cried many sad tears as a young girl and teenager because of her.
My relationship with her changed about 10 years ago, when I decided to move to the U.S. About a month before my move, I set up a time to talk to her over lunch at a mall close to her house. She was really surprised but she agreed on it. We had lunch and talked about superfluous things; meanwhile my heart was beating really really fast because I knew there was something very important I needed to tell her. I needed to tell her I had forgiven her even though she never asked for it.
So after lunch I held her hands, looked deeply into her eyes and said it: “Grandma, I just wanted to tell you that I forgive you.” She was really surprised and asked me what I was forgiving her for… Now THAT was actually harder to tell her than actually forgiving her. And through my trembling voice, hot flashes, and nervousness I told her. I told her how many times I had been hurt by her and how badly some of her actions had made me feel, but that I wasn’t holding anything against her anymore and wanted to start a fresh new relationship with her. I told her she was my last grandparent and I wanted us to get along from now (then) on and leave everything negative behind us.
For my surprise… she cried. She was very confused I believe, because I don’t think nobody had ever said anything like that to her and I caught her off guard. At first she told me she didn’t remember doing any of the things I told her I was forgiving her for, but as time went on and we kept talking she thanked me for having that conversation with her, gave me a very nice hug, and a kiss on my cheek. And I took that as her way of saying she was sorry.
It feels so good to be able to forgive people who have hurt us! It feels like freedom!! Only if you’ve truly and purely forgiven someone you will know what I mean. This incident with my grandma allowed myself to grow into a better person and it made me stronger and able to forgive other people along my life path as well.
So when should we forgive? ALWAYS!
Every time you feel something bad about someone you should forgive them. No one can EVER make you feel bad. You are the one who give them that power. What they do is remind you of something you ALREADY don’t like about yourself (including insecurities, fears, and even our physical appearance), and that’s why it hurts so badly and so deeply. So when you forgive others you are actually forgiving yourself.
If we hold anger inside of us we don’t let things go, we don’t move forward, we don’t allow ourselves to grow. Anger feeds our negativity; anger eats our insides; anger makes us victim of ourselves, our own prisoners.
Free yourself! Open the doors of your imaginary dungeon and start running happy and free!
Just remember that like everything else, forgiving takes practice, and you will get better and better at it as you go, meaning, you won’t be as nervous as the first time, but each and every single time will unlock your happiness forever. And I say “your happiness” because that’s the most important truth I have to share with you: we are only responsible for our own feelings. If you say something (nice – or not) to someone and they become angry or upset with you, it’s their problem. You can only control the way YOU feel.
So make sure you say nice things to others and forgive people regardless of what you think they are going to think or react, because that’s not your problem! :) When you forgive, don’t forget to also tell the person the reason you are forgiving them, otherwise it doesn’t count – you can’t skip the hardest part! hehehe.
And if you need to ask for forgiveness, please DO so. No one is perfect and we should admit our mistakes… it also feels amazing!
Well, my relationship with my grandma has been wonderful for the last 10 years even though we live thousands of miles apart (she is very computer savvy and technologically updated). We have never again talked about our “forgiveness talk”, but we keep in touch on a regular basis and she is always commenting on and/or liking my comments and pictures on facebook. :)
Even though things have been great between us, I kind of always wondered about her love for me…. And what really surprised me and made me extremely happy about this trip to Brazil is that she didn’t know I was going there to see her, and for the first time in my life I had the proof of her love for me. When she saw me she got very emotional and cried of happiness. Of course that made me cry as well…. this time tears of happiness.
It feels good to love. It feels good to be loved. So let’s allow ourselves to live those feelings while we can.
Sending much love and inspiration to all of you,
Health Coach Gabi.
“I love you grandma. I love you and I really mean it.
I hope and pray that you can soon get out of this hospital and be back where you belong, at the beach on your walks, taking care of your flowers, and enjoying to eat all of the fruits you love so much. The physical distance won’t be able to ever separate us. Be well, vovózinha.