In my last post, I told you about Justice Sach’s magnanimous forgiving spirit.
Forgiving people who have hurt us is something Daddy and Mummy advocated and practised. Growing up, I did not realise the exact painful ramifications of what my parents experienced, so I easily accepted their reasons for forgiving a wrongdoing.
Mum Dad Me Big Sis
This was taken on 24 August 2002 (yes, 10 years ago) at their Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration.
In my late teens, I began to understand the grind my parents were put through by some unscrupulous people. Worse still, people they knew personally and had close bonds with. A few examples next.
i. A relative who reneged on his financial commitment when the fledgling business that was started by Daddy, this relative and a common family friend began to flounder. When Common Family Friend began baying for blood, Daddy was saved from landing in the slammer by his three younger brothers who paid Common Family Friend off.
ii. The supervisor of Daddy’s construction arm of the business who fled the state with the workers and equipment. It was Daddy’s reputation that helped assuage his angry clients as Daddy scrambled to put together a whole new operation to complete the projects he had started and had promised on paper. As a result of those enormous losses, our family endured a lean decade financially without the frills we had had all our lives until that point.
iii. During that dark decade, a whole group of (former) friends who did not invite my parents to their celebrations because my parents could no longer afford to reciprocate or socialise at their usual highfalutin hangouts. (When we bounced back, Daddy and Mummy were civil to those people, but did not renew social ties.)
iv. Clients who did not pay Daddy. My father was not the sort to push either because “he/she is in a far worse situation than us, so how can I ask him/her for the money?”
v. A (now deceased) relative who was part of a religious order who told Mummy that she would “go to hell” because she bore an offspring who married a person outside our religion.
Relatives, friends and prayers helped my parents during those dark times. And my parents’ spirit of forgiveness.
Although I saw my parents forgive people, I couldn’t quite understand it. They talked about the anguish of betrayal and we all experienced the pain of deprivation. And then, they’d say they understood the person who caused them grief. And prayed for them!
When I left home for university at 19, I got a knife in my back for the very first time in my life.
With my closest group of friends in our final year at uni. All aged 22.
I overheard my (supposed) friends at uni making fun of the way I walked upright and spoke crisply. All because of my academic and extracurricular achievements (that I slogged for, d#mmit!), and the trendy clothes I sported despite me telling them that most were Big Sis’s (admittedly very cool) hand-me-downs.
Decades on, I can still hear the words that hurt like I had never been hurt until that point. After the pain subsided, I tried to do what Daddy and Mummy did, that is, forgive them.
Not so easy.
For a good decade and a half, I ignored Daddy and Mummy’s practices and their advice each time I shared my problems with them. Because I just could not forgive the people who hurt me (fuggedaboutit!) and I just could not pray for them (not a prayer!) as my parents did and suggested.
Instead, I seethed. I railed to my inner circle (other than Daddy and Mummy). I flooded my mind with horrid thoughts about the person who played dirty. I tried to think of ways to hurt that person in some way, got stunned for thinking along those lines, slunk around in shame, and simmered under a façade of ‘I’m golden’.
Until my mid 30s.
Then I understood that Daddy and Mummy had a point about forgiving and letting go.
It was a fairly easy transition because the resultant changes in the way I felt physically and the way my mood lifted were immediate. And addictive.
Today, I’m mostly a ‘forgive and let go’ kinda person. But I’ve taken it one step ahead of what Daddy and Mummy taught me.
I try to understand the other person.
I still get angry instantly, but soon – sometimes a day, sometimes an hour, sometimes right away! – I begin to conduct a postmortem of sorts. I have learnt that looking to understand the motive before the deed was done helps me deal better with the fallout.
I have found that I feel lighter, better, freer when I turn the focus away from the ‘What’ to the ‘Why’.
Thank you, Nancy, for permitting me the use of your image.
A little side story.
When Nancy responded to my request to use this image with a wave of the green flag, she signed off with
“loving intentions and deepest gratitude”.
Simple words, profound impact.
I look to figure out why someone hurt me instead of they hurt me doing such-and-such.
I choose this route because I am more interested in finding out how I can prevent a repeat.
How I can avoid being in someone’s line of fire again.
Or even how I can avoid becoming the perpetrator of a heinous deed myself one day.
Anyone else take this ‘Why’ approach?
What do you do to dissipate anger, hurt, resentment or revenge when you are wronged?
Thank you, Gustavo, for permitting me the use of your image.
P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.
I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!