Forgiveness feels better

Pack up the Halloween costume and before the candy is eaten, we are organizing pies and borrowing chairs from neighbors to accommodate extra guests crashing the Thanksgiving party.

That's if you're lucky!

In the unwritten American family story -- the story that started with the Mayflower -- Thanksgiving kicks off the eye-rolling season. The grudge parade gets going, and before you know it, assorted old roles and disappointments end up featured in the weekend celebration as prominently as a decorative cornucopia centerpiece.

Whatever the rub (and I don't mean the rosemary and sage herb rub on the turkey's back) I mean the pain on your plate, you need a plan. This season I won't be stuffing the pain, or passing it on a serving platter to others. This season I am going to try something else: Forgiveness.

But what is forgiveness? According to Psych Central,

Forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment. ... Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves.

What forgiveness is not:
  • Forgiveness is not forgetting or pretending it didn’t happen.
  • Forgiveness is not excusing. (We excuse a person who is not to blame. We forgive because a wrong was committed.)
  • Forgiveness is not reconciliation. (We have to make a separate decision about whether to reconcile with the person we are forgiving or whether to maintain our distance.)
While forgiveness can be difficult, holding onto grudges allows more stress to take root in your body. But let's be real: Anyone who's ever held a grudge knows that grudges come in pretty handy.

In fact, I notice that grudges allow me to hide from the strong feelings of fear and uncertainty that true forgiveness brings. Sort of like ... If I really let this (her/him/it) go, then what? What does that really mean? Who will I blame? How will this redefine me?

I know forgiveness feels better but ... sometimes it is harder ;-)


  1. I find this very difficult, but always the path of least resistance and the path with the greatest payoff for everyone. I was given a Arabic proverb last week. It is fitting:

    "the wisest is the one who can forgive."

  2. I love that. Thanks for posting it here.