Many times in life, we fall prey to holding on to past regret, sorrow, disappointment, bitterness, and guilt. It doesn’t make us feel good when we ponder these past indiscretions, but we can’t seem to let them go. I discussed this topic in last month’s e- Zine. The key ingredient to living a better life is to ―let it go and learn to laugh sooner. The feedback I received from this statement was about what you would expect. How could anyone let the past go that easily or even begin to laugh when the hurt was so devastating to begin with? The best way for me to answer that question is to inspire you to choose to live your life from this day forward by changing the way you think.
Nothing changes in life until you change. The change starts when you transform from a reactive state to a life of hope for tomorrow. It is easier to hate than to love if you haven’t learned the art of forgiveness. How can anyone move forward if they are stuck in the past? Alexander Pope, in ― An Essay on Criticism writes, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” We all make mistakes. You must understand that not only are you human, but other people are human, too. Be a student of the truth in life. Any religious philosophy that preaches forgiveness also speaks about loving your neighbor. We don’t have to like what they do. The simple truth is those that forgive first live a better life sooner because they can move forward with their dreams. Forgiveness, however, can be a problem for many people simply because they are not clear about what forgiveness really is.
The simple definition of forgiveness is the refusal to hurt the one who hurt you. This ―refusal to hurt‖ can take many forms, depending on the circumstances, and it encompasses everything from the refusal to ―get even with‖ others, to the refusal to prove to others—with arguments, protest, violence, or even self-sabotage—how important it is that you are right and the other person is wrong. Common sense will tell you that focusing your brainpower on living forward is to understand that forgiveness, by itself, is psychologically preferable to holding a grudge. Bitterness works like a mental poison that doesn’t hurt anyone but you. Seeking revenge or wishing harm to another will, at the minimum, deplete your strength and prevent your wounds from healing. In the worst case, the hunger for revenge will make you into a victimizer yourself. Lacking forgiveness, you both will be locked together in living a life of revenge.
It’s really hard to find a better you, when you are focused on revenge. So even though someone hurts you and refuses to apologize, and even if this means that the relationship cannot be repaired, you can still offer forgiveness—for the sake of choosing to live a better life, by choosing to live forward each day of your life and not allowing yesterday’s mistakes to take away tomorrow’s opportunities. Try spending your time on what you can change. This was President Kennedy’s philosophy and I think you would agree he was a smart man. After a recent program, a gentleman came up to me, said that he was not very happy with himself, and asked if I had any recommendations. I told him not to stay that way very long. I reminded him that life is too short not to be happy. That’s common sense thinking, isn’t it? That, my friends, is good old common sense, and some really good critical thinking on your part.
Join me each Saturday from 4:00 to 5:00 pm on WBAP 820 AM and 96.7 FM for my live broadcast radio show which covers topics like these in greater detail. You can also listen to any of my shows by going to www.bryandodge.com and clicking on the Radio tab. I am now completing my 4th year on radio, and the numbers continue to grow beyond all of my expectations. I thank you for listening when you can, and the suggestions that you make help the ―Building A Better You hour grow tremendously. We can make a difference in America, so let’s put for our best foot forward each day. Forgiveness will allow you to do just that.
Living forward in life begins with complete forgiveness.
Bryan J. Dodge