I have done a lot of difficult things. I've woken up early for swim practice, endured a straight month of sorority recruitment, survived weeks of band camp, took every standardized test created, quit something I loved and let go of people I loved even more. But nothing has been as difficult as trying to forgive someone who never even asked for my forgiveness.
It probably doesn't make much sense. Why forgive someone who isn't sorry?
The thing is, I honestly can't handle lugging around the anger with me. I hate conflict, and I hate having hard feelings, even if those feelings are completely justified. The anger sits on my shoulders like it's the weight of the world, and carrying it around hurts me more than anything anyone has ever done to me in the past. I strive to forgive people who didn't even ask for it because I deserve the peace of mind.
Even though the anger hurts, it doesn't make forgiving someone any easier, especially when someone isn't sorry. It's one thing for someone to hurt you, but for someone to hurt you and not care is an even sharper stab in the back. Forgiveness isn't as simple as just "letting go;" it takes time, patience and strength. A lot more strength than holding on to a grudge or shoving feelings inside until they explode onto the surface.
I'm still in the process of forgiving those who hurt me in the past. I work really hard at it. I exercise a lot to release the negative energy. Sometimes I put my headphones on as loud as my eardrums can handle and just sprint around my gym's track until I'm completely out of breath. I also write a lot. Writing has always been a great outlet for my emotions, since I'm not so great at verbalizing how I feel. I seek out positive outlets. I surround myself with good food, great music and the best friends.
And mostly, I remind myself that the person who hurt me is probably hurting a lot worse than I could ever know. Happy people don't hurt others, and I am so lucky to be happy. I count my blessings every day and realize my life is too amazing to let anger ruin that. I can't let someone else's inner turmoil ruin my peace of mind. All I can do is try to forgive them and hope they find happiness themselves someday.
Like I said, I'm still in the process of forgiving some people and letting go. It's not an overnight process. It takes time. I guess some people could say forgiveness is weakness but forgiving someone requires a lot more strength than holding onto anger and hatred forever. If forgiveness was easy, I would've done it a lot sooner. It's not the easiest route, but I refuse to let the past define how I view the world, others and myself now.
One of my favorite quotes from the TV show "How I Met Your Mother" sums up my beliefs perfectly:
"You may think your only two choices are to swallow your anger or throw it in someone's face, but there's a third option: you can just let it go, and only when you do that is it really gone, and you can move forward."