So, here's a little fact about me that you might not know - I'm really, really bad at baring grudges. I just don't get it. Likewise for spiteful revenge and stewing in envy. I'm not really that much of a jealous person either. I'm horrifically insecure, but I'm just not really that good at doing the whole "I hate you, you ruined my life thing"*
I used to be though. I had a messy upbringing and a Mother who looooves to hate. She'll cling on to the rubbish in her life like you wouldn't believe, referring to people by horrible nicknames and generally making herself miserable as a result.
Despite the fact I would no longer call myself a Christian, it was Christianity that brought me to embrace the whole forgiveness thing. And I discovered that as I made an active attempt at forgiving people (and telling them that I forgive them), I became a lot happier and a lot more chilled out. I don't think any of us really like clinging on to the stuff from the past that makes me miserable, and I think that often, the only thing it ever really does is make us more miserable as a result.
The other thing I started to do was to seek people out to say sorry to - the girl that I was mean to at school, the friend that I lost touch with, the ex step-sibling I used to tell tales on. I started looking for people to say sorry to and to ask forgiveness of and it made me happier. 9 times out of 10, people are willing to accept your apologies and you can both move on with your lives. Sometimes, people cling to the stuff that's hurt them. That's ok. Well, I mean it's not, but you tried right? And that counts for something. And maybe, in a few years time when the hurts subsided and they've moved to a better place, they can forgive you too.
I'm writing this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because an old friend of mine, my best friend for my teenage years, got in touch today to say sorry for hurting me towards the end of our friendship. I had two choices - I could send her a message back telling her yeah she had hurt me and things had been shit and I'd needed her or I could message her back and let her know that I forgive her and I love her and I miss her. I'm guessing you know which one I went for. And it's so good to have her back in my life again. Because those things are true - I do still love her, and I did miss her and I truly do forgive her. And I accept that it takes balls to hunt someone down purely to say sorry - she didn't expect forgiveness, but she wanted me to know that she loved me, was sorry and hoped my life was working out. She didn't even try to make excuses for why she'd done the things she'd done. She just acknowledged that she'd done them, and that that hadn't been on.
Secondly, I'm writing it with the vague hope that I can encourage some of you to break free from grudge baring and clinging on to those old hurts. Go on. Or maybe, just maybe, to encourage you to go and apologise for that thing you did. But don't try and shift the blame or make excuses. Just say sorry, and mean it.
How are you with grudge baring and forgiveness? Do you cling to old hurts or can you let them go easily?
*This is true most of the time, but as I wrote this, I realised there's someone who I'm really, really baring a grudge against. I'm sending her a text the minute I publish this blog post. (ETA - I've sent the text. And you know what? I feel better for it. I apologised for the anger and hunt and resentment I've been clinging to towards this person and that situation. I'm still waiting to hear back, but that's ok)