Over the next few blogs on our spiritual conference website, we will be exploring what it means to be human. In this blog, we will dive into what honesty is, and why it is an important value for all of humanity to share.
As humans, we often hold onto resentment because it’s easier than letting go. When someone wrongs us, we respond in self-righteous anger. How could this person do that to us? We respond to betrayal by shutting ourselves inward like a clam, hiding our true selves from those who we believe aren’t worthy. We cling to these resentments and grudges as though they are giving us life. Yet when you turn to our spiritual leaders and inspirational heroes, they tell us to forgive. Maya Angelou said, “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” Ms. Angelou was a wise woman, but this quote may confuse you. When someone wrongs you, how can forgiving them help you in any way?
Why should we forgive others?
You may not believe it, but Ms. Angelou is right. When we forgive others, we are doing ourselves a favor. You may think, “why should I let this person who has wronged me off the hook? They don’t deserve my forgiveness.” While they may not deserve it, you deserve to be free of resentment. Anger grows inside of us and steals our energy, taking far more from us than we gain from it. When we forgive someone, this anger dissipates, and we can be at peace. Show yourself the love they didn’t show you by letting it go. Give yourself rest from the storm of anger brewing inside of you, keeping you awake at night. Forgiving those who wrong us is a gift to ourselves.
Additionally, when you forgive another person, you acknowledge that no one is perfect. Regardless of what this person did, whether it was intentionally malicious or not, it was human. As humans, we make mistakes. We wrong others without consideration of their feelings and desires. We can be selfish and stubborn. You consider the person who betrayed you to be a bad person, but in reality, though their actions may be bad, we are all the same. You do bad things too. When you embrace this reality, you realize that you too are a flawed human being, and that is beautiful. When you forgive another person, you set yourself up to be forgiven in the future. Just because you are the victim right now, doesn’t mean you won’t someday be the perpetrator. When that occurs, what would you like from the person you wronged? Forgiveness. Because just as when we forgive others, it frees us, it also gives them a beautiful gift by allowing them to forgive themselves. Forgiveness begets more forgiveness, and the cycle allows us to be connected.
How does forgiveness make us human?
Being betrayed is one of the most painful experiences of being human. It separates us from our fellow man and makes us feel alone. This isolation hurts us all as a whole. Each time one person experiences the pain of emotional solitude, it radiates throughout the universe and affects the interconnectedness of the human race. Ironically, there is only so much that we can do for those we betray. We can apologize, make restitution, and beg for forgiveness, but until that person actually lets go of the anger and negative feelings they have towards us, that fracture in humanity remains. Forgiveness is a powerful and transformative thing in our world, and forgiving another person makes us all closer to whole.
At The Dreamers Conference, a spirituality conference in Finland, we explored the meaning of humanity, and how we can achieve a more peaceful world. Watch the videos on our website to learn more about our spirituality conference.