Beyonce's visual masterpiece, Lemonade, came out my freshman year of college. Since then, I've watched it about 10 times. I seem to come back to it whenever I need to feel like a boss or whenever I'm going through a dark time. Art heals. This is what I've learned from her album.
1. Forgiveness is about not keeping score.
One of the quotes I found to be the most impactful from this album was this "Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me."
After going through a pretty awful breakup last year, all I wanted was for the other person to feel the pain I was feeling. I wanted them to hurt too. I did not feel it was fair that I was suffering so much because of them, so I wanted them to suffer too (I know, sounds awful but that's how I felt). However, I soon realized that this is not the right way to heal from pain, nor is it kind to wish another being malice.
My ex-boyfriend and I ended up getting back together, but in order to let someone into my heart again, I had to realize that forgiveness truly was about not keeping score. It is ok to be angry, but it is not ok to stay angry. This line from Lemonade drives home the point that to truly forgive, we must, in fact, move on from the pain and the past, and give space to a more loving future. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. A relationship cannot survive if one person is out to get the other for what they did. This is NOT EASY, but it truly is worth it. This is how you regain your happiness.
2. Forgiveness will not happen overnight.
The visual album, Lemonade, is over an hour long. In it, B showcases all the stages of her grieving. With her beautiful voice and powerful poetry, she manages to process the fact that her partner in life of 12 years cheated on her. Again, she took an hour to actual address forgiveness in the album. That's a long time, but in real life, I can imagine it took much longer to truly reach a place of healing. Forgiveness takes time, and it takes strength of character. Even Gandhi said that "Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." Next time you find it hard to forgive someone who hurt you, remember that it is a process, it does not happen overnight.
3. Forgiveness is love.
Towards the end of the album, Beyonce admits that "forgiveness is the final act of love."
If you can forgive someone, you can truly say that you love someone. If you can be vulnerable enough to let someone back in, to understand their life and their pain, you will be able to find healing. Most importantly, remember that forgiveness benefits you more than it benefits the one being forgiven. It is an act of love for yourself.
In fact, research by Dr. Frederick Luskin, author of Forgive for Good shows that forgiving actually "reduces depression, anger, and anxiety" and promotes an overall feeling of optimism.
So my advice to you is this. Be like Beyonce and forgive.