I’ll start with a confession. I really like watching “Girl Meets World.”
And I liked Boy Meets World, too, which is why I started watching the Disney Channel spinoff in the first place. (And because we have limited channels, so Disney Channel is one in a rotation of three if I’m not watching Netflix.)
In one episode of GMW, Cory Matthews (insert praise hands) says this really powerful statement:
“Forgiveness is one of our finest qualities as human beings. You have to understand each other before you can even begin to know what’s next.”
Now read that again. Let it sink in for a sec.
This doesn’t mean that we have to agree with everyone. But we do have to understand that they are human, like us, and are coming from a place of their own experience, knowledge and expectations when they did whatever we need to forgive them for.
Before we can grow in any direction, we have to free ourselves of the baggage that’s holding us down from our past.
You know that list you’ve been holding onto. The one that keeps count of everyone’s strikes against them. I’m talking that time she didn’t call you when she was in town, that time his compliment backfired, the birthday she missed, the expectations he didn’t meet. I mean sometimes it’s bigger than that, but all the grudges you’re holding, you have to let go of.
And that starts with forgiveness.
Just look at my pup.
She’s the happiest, most sincere and expressive dog I’ve met in a long time. (Sorry to all my friends with dogs… I’m biased. You understand.)
She can be happy and loving and free because she’s the most forgiving animal on the planet. She’s smart and she learns from every mistake, but she lets all the negative go. We address it and move on. And just like that, her spirit is stronger, she’s smarter (God help me) and has allowed room in her heart to love us even more.
That last part’s not scientific, but you get my point.
Let me tell you a short story. I’ve had a few friends in the past literally just stop being my friend. I’m sure they’ve had their reasons, but in the moment it sucked. First I thought about what I did and what’s wrong with me. Then I thought about how it’s their fault for not being a good friend to me. Eventually, I gave up because their not being friends with me isn’t affecting them whatsoever and all I was doing was feeling terrible every time their name pops up on Facebook.
But you know what? When I decided to forgive them, if only to myself, it opened up a whole new brainwave for me. These people are still beautiful, talented people who I was friends with for a reason. Just because life takes us in different directions sometimes doesn’t mean I should want any less for them. I still keep up with them in my own ways and get excited about their accomplishments. Maybe at some point we’ll get to work together or be in a common situation. Who knows. I’m not going to waste my time lighting matches and burning bridges for silly reasons. And when I decided I believed all of this, I not only felt weightless, I felt motivated to do better for myself because I was inspired by them.
I’m not telling you what to do here – by all means, do what you need to do. I’m just speaking from my own experiences. People have hurt me. That’s life. We obviously can’t live our lives trying to please every single person. But I’ve felt the feeling of relief when I decided that my future is bigger than a moment – no matter where the blame is supposed to lie. That even if I can’t control someone who’s not meeting my expectations, I can’t tie my own feelings down by someone else’s actions. It literally feels like a weight is lifted when you make the decision not to be bitter, not to feel owed and to take a situation at face value and forgive it – to literally cancel a debt (that you implemented in the first place).
Don’t you want to be this free? Don’t you want to allow yourself to get past what’s holding you back? Because that’s what it’s doing, holding you back.
That person with the mark against them? They don’t even see it. It weighs nothing on their mind. And no amount of pointed words and cold shoulders is going to make them any more willing to do what you think they should be doing to make things right with you.
Am I right? If I’m not – fine. Let’s talk about it.
Who and what is it that you need to forgive right now? Maybe it’s something you can take care of with a phone call and maybe it starts with telling yourself first that you need to let some things go. Whichever it is, say it out loud (or leave it in the comments – I’m here for you). Make it real.
And believe it.