I recently found myself thinking poorly about some old professors of mine. I was so resentful about the way I had been treated by them that I sassily thought, “At least I learned how NOT to treat other people.” (add neck roll here)
Then it dawned on me. How is this kind of thinking benefiting anybody? It’s certainly not benefiting me to think this way. I could totally think about this in a more positive way, and in doing so, I could help myself get over the feelings of resentment and feel better. So that’s what I did. I reasoned with myself, changed the way I viewed my experience, and “POOF!”, like magic; instantly felt better. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Even if someone taught you how NOT to treat other people, the statement “I learned how to treat people” still describes how certain people made an impact on your life. It only makes sense to state the fact more positively. If you don’t harbor resentment against a person or event, you want to treat them with kindness and respect. This goes even for someone who cut you off in traffic and you felt the need to give them the finger. We’re constantly resenting. We find it so easy to become angry and to dwell in anger. If you find that you’re a better driver because it feels badly to be cut off in traffic, it still describes what you learned, and it infinitely feels better than, “that asshole cut me off”. We don’t want to give credit to those who hurt us; we want them to hurt the way we do. What we have to realize is that it’s not harming them whether we give them props or think about them with hatred. However we feel won’t affect them, so we might as well feel good about the past. It doesn’t mean there will be a relationship. You are not obligated to have a relationship with someone who hurt you. You do however, owe it to yourself to forgive. It doesn’t matter how another person treats us, we have to forgive them and move on. Give yourself credit for being able to learn positively from someone who behaved in a negative way. Some people can’t. Others are trying to figure out how to. Forgiveness is hard because we want to punish others for hurting us, as if it’s going to cause them pain or something. It’s not. You’re the only one who is suffering. Let. It. Go.
It’s not about what you were taught. It’s about what you learned. If what you learned improved the way you live your life, you learned a great lesson. If what you learned created chaos, step back from yourself and realize that it was your reaction that caused the chaos. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. And be grateful for your growth. You owe it to yourself to grow and move forward. It is the only path to happiness.
Do you need help with forgiveness? Click here! Your happiness is my goal!