“The choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.”Gregory David RobertsThe first time I met Laura was in 2007 at Blogtoberfest San Marcos. Years later, we shared a bed at Tara Anderson’s during the second StartupWeekend Boulder. This was back when Blackberry’s were popular – and I remember laughing because we both slept with our Blackberry’s under our pillows – on vibrate…so we wouldn’t miss out on anything “important”. All night long, the room was lit up again and again with a cool glow, as we pulled our phones out to check Twitter.
I was thinking of Laura tonight, because someone in my support group was having trouble with forgiveness. Been there. Forgiving someone who has hurt you can be one of the hardest things in the world to do. Maybe it’s because forgiving them feels a little like you’re saying what they did was okay. But condoning and forgiving are not the same. I could spend all night telling you why forgiveness is important. How it’s really about you, and not the other person. Instead, I want to share with you what Laura taught me about Radical Forgiveness.
I came to her angry. Enraged. Not over a man – but over a slight to my ego. Over a conflict in business, in my community. I was livid. I was drowning in victim mode. I wanted revenge. To crush this person who had wronged me. Laura listened to my rant, and then she asked me “Have you ever heard of radical forgiveness?”
She explained to me that not forgiving someone was like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The longer we hold onto grudges and resentments from the past, the harder it is to move forward and create a positive future. That’s where radical forgiveness comes in.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”Mahatma GandhiShe told me not only did I have to forgive this person – I had to do one last nice thing for her. Then I could let the entire situation go.
Do something nice for someone who had so clearly wronged me? Was she insane?
But I tried it, and as it turns out, Laura was right.
The good news, I would never have to interact with this person again, unless I chose to. Radical forgiveness is not synonymous with second chances or forgetting about the hurt that had been caused. Radical forgiveness is about righting the balance of energy – putting out more positive vibes than negative. Getting the poison out.
Chances are, if you’ve ever hurt me, I’ve already forgiven you. I am quick to forgive, but slow to forget. Chances are, if I did (or attempted to do) one last nice thing for you, I was practicing radical forgiveness. Bringing balance to a difficult situation.
“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”Oprah Winfrey