As a somewhat emotional person, I sometimes find it hard to forgive people that have hurt me in the past. I think this is something we can all relate to on some level. Some things are easier to move on from and forget, but in some instances it’s not that simple to get over how you feel someone wronged you. Whether it be feelings of betrayal, disrespect, or even neglect, it feels hard to go back to the way things were with that person. But something that I have personally had to learn over time is the art of letting go.
Now this might at first glance sound like an easy task, but trust me it takes some serious growth. Right now you may be saying, “girl you have no idea what even happened. What do you mean just let it go?” And I hear you, I promise I do. But for the sake of your own mental health, you have to let negativity out of your space. The thing about holding on to those things that hurt us, is that it doesn’t allow you to truly move on; it holds power over you. We tend to believe that staying mad at someone will hurt them emotionally for missing our presence, or show them just how badly we were offended by staying upset about the situation. And while that may be true for a short amount of time, that person will eventually move on, leaving only you still worrying about what happened.
When we hold on to such hard emotions, we do ourselves a mental disservice. Internally we don’t allow ourselves a chance to naturally get over the problem. It takes too much energy to hold on to anger and pain. The best advise someone told me one day was that if it won’t matter in ten years, then it doesn’t matter now. And as much as that seems to reduce the validity of our present pain, it’s such a wise statement. While anger, sadness, and feelings of being misunderstood are very real and valid emotions that deserve a space to be felt, those emotions eventually morph into other feelings over time for our own health. They aren’t meant to stay stagnant forever.
So why do we try to hold on to those feelings for so long?
Maybe it’s because we want the person who hurt us to understand the gravity of what made us feel so wronged. Or maybe we think if we remember the pain we felt, we’ll avoid the same feeling again in the future. And while those are real concerns, there’s a big difference between holding on to the past and being naive. But another issue lies in the fact that often we don’t voice that to the other person. Instead, we get upset about something and go silent, and expect the person to somehow know what happened and correct the issue without us having to tell them.
Listen, despite Taraji P. Henson’s spectacular performance in What Men Want, no one on earth is telepathic. And no matter how obvious you feel it should be to someone that they’ve wronged you, sometimes it just isn’t. Contrary to popular belief, common sense is not common. Sometimes we don’t give people the opportunity to redeem themselves and correct the issue. Many times if we communicate what bothers or offends us, we may receive a different response from others who didn’t realize their effect. But we don’t always afford people that right of communicating our feelings. We forget that as humans, we don’t all think the same or get triggered emotionally by the same things.
Unfortunately we cannot control the people that wrong us in life. Sometimes people make mistakes, and sometimes people are just assholes. What we can control, however, is how we allow other people’s actions to weigh on us internally. It’s normal to go through different emotions in response to others; it’s only human. But try not to sit in those feelings forever and let them fester away at you. And for the situations that you believe may have been a misunderstanding, try talking it out. So many world wars and social issues could be resolved just by sitting down and getting an understanding of someone else’s views. I assure you there is something we can all learn from one another.