If only life was so simple… Us humans are complex beings. We have such good intentions and yet we can sometimes go through seasons where we can actually be our own worst enemy. We hide when we should be shining. We hesitate when we should be jumping. We hold grudges when we should be walking free.
The thing about grudges, offenses and unforgiveness is that they are so hard to recognise until we have been carrying them around for a while. And the danger is that when someone or something points it out and makes us aware of it, we have a choice to make. We can hold on to it, and justify why we have the “right” to hold on to it, or we can chose to let it go and live a free life.
Nelson Mandela is quoted at saying “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.” It seems very silly, but that is exactly how it is. Most times the people we are harbouring resentment, offenses or unforgiveness against aren’t even really aware that we carrying around this weight. What a waste of time and life to be lugging around this heavy and contaminating baggage.
So why is it so hard?
I get it, I have been there, you want to hold on to it, because it feels like there will be no justice if we let it go, we feel like they will not be made to pay for what they have done. But judgement can only be carried out by someone who has nothing to answer for, and I am not that person, none of us are. We have all fallen short and we have all something to answer for. The alternative is that you are the one carrying this poison and you are the one who is being destroyed by it. Doesn’t seem like a good outcome to me.
When we have been wronged and we share that, it brings people around us that will comfort and support us. And that is great! But the danger is that it can leave us as a victim and then we have to stay the victim in order to get the connection we so desperately want and need. What we inadvertently do is invite more hurt and pain so that we can continue to have this connection, which isn’t even real, and one day when the rescuers have moved on, we are even lonelier and even more bitter than we were before. The cycle continues as we find the new bad guy and then more rescuers. Break free and find your power again. None of us are destined be victims.
If we forgive, we are afraid that we will have to let them back in and we don’t feel safe anymore because the trust has been destroyed. This is where boundaries is really important. Boundaries are not walls, unforgiveness is all about blocking pain (or people) out, but the down side is that it also blocks out love, joy and everything good too. Boundaries are all about building connection, but doing it so that I feel safe. Boundary lines that are clear, establish ownership and responsibility. This is what I am going to do, this is what I own and have power over and this is how it is going to go down, what you do with that is your ownership and responsibility. We can walk in forgiveness and still put distance between ourselves and someone who makes us feel unsafe while re-establishing a new way of being.
We can’t stop others from hurting us, but we do have the power to not carry that poisonous baggage. Own up to it, work through it, get help it you have to, but don’t spend another day lugging that toxic weight around. Deal with it and let it go.
Are you carry any toxic luggage today? Don't you think it is time to let it go? You deserve better...