forgive (don’t forget)

FullSizeRender

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
–Mark Twain

 
How do you forgive someone who has hurt you so badly that the mere sight of them actually causes you physical pain?

People hurt each other every day, but for some reason every time we get hurt it stings just as much as that first time. Sometimes it stings worse than the first time. Sometimes the word “sting” comes nowhere close to doing the feeling justice. So when it comes time to forgive the people who hurt you and move forward with your life, where do you even begin?

In my experience the first step is always forgiving yourself for letting them hurt you. I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Maybe that’s true, but I don’t know if that same idea applies to love and friendship. Sometimes your feelings don’t listen to your better judgment and you let people in without realizing it. Before you know it, your heart is in pieces and you’re pretty sure you didn’t consent to that. Forgive yourself anyway.

Remember all of the people who are still by your side, the ones that never wavered. Those are the people who deserve your time and energy, and that’s where you should direct your attention now. Those who hurt you don’t deserve your tears or your thoughts, your regrets and your sleepless nights. Be sad if you have to, and then surround yourself with the people who deserve your attention.

Go back to your life, to the things that make you really happy. Find joy in the little moments that make up your day. Take every excuse to smile, every excuse to laugh. Say yes more often than you say no. Get up and get out. Soon enough, those happy moments will turn into happy days, and happy weeks and happy months. Give yourself permission to be happy.

 Finally, realize that holding on to pain and anger will hurt you much more than they hurt anyone else. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. Hating the people that hurt you takes just as much time and energy as loving them. Letting go of as much as possible, of a new little piece of pain every day, is the only way to heal. It’s the only way to forgive the people that have hurt you, and the only way to deprive them from ruling your life from afar. Let go, and keep the past from controlling your future.

 Every time we get hurt, the process of healing is the same. And so is the final conclusion, the lesson we learn time and time again: life is too short to spend it with the people who treat you badly.

So forgive. Don’t forget, because then you won’t have learned anything, and your pain will have been in vain. But as difficult as it is, as much as it hurts- forgive the people who have wronged you, especially the ones who don’t deserve it. Because they’re the people that need it the most.

choosing change

IMG_2230

“Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.” – Jack Kerouac

What do you do when your whole life is about to change from everything comfortable and familiar to everything you never expected?

Sometimes you have the luxury of foresight; the second you stepped onto a school campus, you knew graduation was the inevitable end to your time at that place. Sometimes, you don’t have any warning and life changes more quickly and quite differently than you ever would have thought.

Either way, planned or by surprise, changes can be exciting or scary, positive or negative, simple or complicated. In most cases, all of the above.

The critical question is this- what do you do when nothing will ever be the way it was again?

Ultimately, there are two kinds of people – and two ways to answer the question.

There are those who are paralyzed by change and those who are propelled by it. There are those who embrace their future and those who cling to their useless plans of what they thought the future would hold.

There are those who continue to write the story of their own life, and those who obsess pointlessly about the typos and mistakes they made along the way.

Some people might be hardwired to respond to change in certain ways, but at the end of the day we each choose which of these categories we fall into.

If everything in our lives is predetermined, I guess that’s an easy way to blame fate for our problems. Maybe some things are meant to happen to us.

But I have to believe that, even if that’s true, we can choose how we will respond to what life throws at us.

We can choose whether to meet the challenges head on or to curl up and let them wash over us.

We can choose to respond with love and an embrace of life’s insanity or to respond with defeat, exhaustion and fear.

We can choose to blame the stars and the fates for our difficulties or we can laugh and learn from our mistakes and our past to make them a meaningful part of who we are.

When your whole life’s about to change, there’s only one course of action that makes sense-

Be grateful for where you’ve been, and never forget the things you’ve learned and the people you’ve met on your journey to the tipping point. Even the ones who hurt you played a role in getting you here.

Remember that the best laid plans are wiped clean in an instant for tons of people every day, and that you are not composed solely of your mistakes.

Take courage in the fact that although you can’t control what happens TO you, you control what you’ll do about it.

With a deep breath and the acceptance that you will never truly know where your life will be tomorrow, choose to embrace whatever life brings your way with conviction.

Deny yourself neither happiness nor sorrow, love nor loss.

Most importantly, be in love with your life. Every minute of it.