Forgiveness is the juice of life. When you learn to forgive often and always you don’t have to carry around anger, bitterness, resentments, hate, sadness or pain. You can let all of these things go. Forgiveness, however, isn’t always easy. We want people to pay for the hurt or harm we believe they cause. We hang on to the injustice of it all, sometimes as if our life depended on it. With forgiveness, however, we get freedom, happiness and joy – the things we really want!
I have a belief that makes forgiveness easier for me. Here it is. People do their best. This is a very simple, but powerful belief. I truly believe in most cases, if people could do better, they would. That includes me, because forgiving myself is just as important as forgiving anyone else! Why don’t people do better? We all have fears, hurts, insecurities, wounds and unmet childhood needs that get in our way (big time!). Sometimes we just don’t know better or we didn’t learn better. Sometimes we do stuff just because we’re stressed, hungry or tired! The reason is not important. Compassion and understanding for the human condition is. Maybe your mom didn’t love you the way you wanted her to love you. I believe she did her best. Maybe your spouse or partner doesn’t always see you or hear you, the way you want to be seen and heard. Can you believe they do their best? When you mess up, can you say to yourself, “if I could have done better, I would have done better”?
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you can’t ask people to do better or expect more from them, or from yourself, in the future. We should always be looking to learn and grow. I’m also not saying that you should let people abuse you or treat you unkindly or that you should stay in relationships that aren’t working for you. What I am asking you to do is to love all of people, even the parts that are hard to love. I am asking you to carry a belief that says, in most cases, people truly do their best, even when we wish their best could be better.
Forgiveness brings happiness and freedom. Carry with you a belief that says “people do their best”. Fears, hurts and unmet childhood needs are just some of the things that stop people from doing better. When you have compassion for these things, forgiveness comes easy.