This past weekend I was spending the night at my aunt’s house. While I was in the bathroom I noticed a calendar which showed certain holidays that I had no idea were celebrated in the country and the world during the month of August. One date in particular that caught me by surprise was August 27 which is Forgiveness Day. Having now been made more aware that such a great holiday exists, I wish to get into the spirit of this special occasion by discussing why it is so important to forgive each other in the first place.
Now I know that in relationships, especially those that are tight knit and close, conflict is most of the time inevitable. But that doesn’t always mean that the relationship is now over and that you will never be able to get along ever again. Rather it means that you and everyone else involved in the relationship had a misunderstanding and that is because each and every one of you are different which means that you will have unique interpretations and views on various topics. I know that it can hard to let go of all the nasty language and bitter exchanges as they are not fun and can be quite painful. Trust me, for I am the kind of person who typically holds on to memories that aren’t so great for a long time and will sometimes persevere on these ugly incidents until I feel that I can move on at last. However, if you are able to remember all the great memories that you cherish and the exciting experiences that you created, then I’m sure that the last thing you want to do is push that person or group of individuals out of your life. Recognize that people will commit errors for as human beings we will never be perfect, but yet we are capable of redeeming ourselves and transforming into more mature and better people. Something that I often find myself and others failing to understand is that the more you refuse to forgive someone for their wrongdoings the more stress you are putting upon yourself. Know that when everyone involved in the conflict takes ownership of their mistakes and apologizes, it creates a stronger bond and shows that all the people involved in the relationship including you, are willing to grow and evolve after each error that you commit.
Of course, no one is telling you to act as though the conflict never happened. You can still recall the horrible comments that you said to one another and the pain you felt following the experience. Yet by telling someone you forgive them, you have just proven that you are able to look past his or her flaws and maintain the warmth and friendliness that you share, which in turn will help you earn more respect from those around you. No one is saying that forgiveness is an easy task, especially if the dispute left both sides heavily damaged, but it is important that people try to do the right thing regardless of the potential struggle. As we get closer to Forgiveness Day, I’d like to offer some touching words sung by the two heroines, Elphaba and Glinda from the musical Wicked which are: “And just to clear the air/I ask forgiveness/For the things I’ve done you’ve blamed me for/But then I guess we know there’s blame to share/And none of it seems to matter anymore”, (from “For Good”, a song from Wicked). It is my hope that on Forgiveness Day, you’ll find the desire to no longer hold a grudge against those who have harmed you in any way, and as a result, allow yourself to become changed for good.