The Art of Forgiveness

“If I hurt others, give me the strength to apologize.
If people hurt me, give me the strength to forgive.” ~Ritu Ghatourey

When I first put pen to page and thought about forgiveness this little saying popped into my head. I had always thought to forgive someone for something they did or said, required you tell them. To make it real, proper, or true you must stand to face. That is simply not true.

For me, forgiveness is a very personal private matter between me, myself and I.
Now of course, this is my opinion as well as what I feel works best for me. You may have another way to handle the act of forgiving someone or something done to you or one you love.

However, let me share with you why I came to this conclusion, and perhaps you may find that it brings comfort and understanding. If so, well, isn’t that worth taking a moment and giving it a chance?

Without going into details, there is no need to any more, I have fought with the demons and won the battle. It does not matter if it was physical or emotional – it was abuse. For you dear reader it does not matter if it was family member, or church leader. It makes it no less horrible one way or the other. It is a matter of trust broken. Trust like love is a very delicate feeling. It can withstand immense pain and suffering, be strong but flexible like water against a stone. Or it can cause great destruction, like a gentle warm summer breeze can form into a deadly tornado.

When the person who hurt you deeply has passed away – does that mean you must live the rest of your life with pain, resentment or anger? No. Absolutely not. You write about it, you put to page what it was that happened, how it felt, did you cry, scream or break something? How long ago was it? Who was involved? Who knew and said nothing? Details – all the details put on the page – why? It makes it real, it is tangible, it is your truth. That is what is important. It is your truth.

Then set it on fire, watch it burn away to ash, the paper changes to cinders and air. As this is happening say the name of the person who wronged you and tell them they are forgiven.

This does not magically mean you will not feel anger at times you may remember later on, but it will not have as strong a hold on you. This does not automatically wiped everything away from your past. But it is a simple way of working on yourself.

There are people out there I do not want to see again. I do not want to look into their eyes and see the mocking, the anger, the lie still living there. For what purpose would this serve? An uncomfortable meeting for both parties so I can say, “I forgive you” – to which I may be mocked or laughed at? No, this way “I” am in control. I do not need to face the person, or if the person is dead, or moved away, or I simply do not want to look at them again. I have the choice.

I can only speak for myself, but I found the experience freeing. Uplifting. It allowed me to put a lid on the box and put it high up on a shelf. It made me feel better.

Now here’s the hard part. Once the person who hurt you has been forgiven, you must look in the mirror and forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for allowing that person to live rent free in your brain. Forgive yourself for letting a situation weigh heavy on your shoulders and not allow you to enjoy your life. Forgive yourself for the things YOU may have said in anger or pain, resentment or even words spoken out of love that might have cut deeply.
Forgive yourself. Then you have truly practiced the art of forgiveness and can move forward. I wish you peace.

Breathe Deep, Think Peace


About Patty Young

Patricia Young spent most of her life in the Northeast. Before the casinos arrived and many of the safety rails installed, she would walk Bushkill Falls and enjoy time in a little cabin by Meadow Lake near the Delaware Water Gap. The school year was spent in New Jersey, but many summers were spent in Mississippi where she wandered in the woods, ride horses, reading comic books and played with cousins. After graduating from college with a degree in education, she taught fifth grade in Queens. When rent climbed higher than her salary she working for a defense industry in Yonkers before starting a small business called, The Giving Tree Day Care. For fifteen years she was fondly "held hostage by two year olds!" Writing every day for in a notebook for each child to keep communication open and flowing to the families. Fast forward to the spring of 2013 diagnosed with sever carpal tunnel syndrome (she does NOT recommend having both hands done at the same time! Often wondering "What was I thinking?!") Physical therapy and time slowly began the healing process and gardening strengthened her hands. After an unexpected, but deeply personal journey to Montana in the fall of 2013 she decided it was time to reinvent herself and embrace her passion for words. With renewed confidence, and a plan to do the work necessary to become a writer, she began writing every day (with the help of - thank you Kellianne and Buster!), submitting to a variety of magazines and contests to practice the craft. As well as participating in the Learning to See poetry programs offered at the local library. Attending writing retreats, workshops, lectures, taking classes, reading and immersing herself in the process. She began to work with writers and authors in the tri-state area. Presently living in Westchester New York Patricia lives with her husband of 29 years, two daughters – both attending college and grad school and a dear college friend – all under the roof of a little cape cod. Its snug – but the laughter and support is rich and full! Patricia is working on her first novel with her editor, with hopes and dreams and fingers crossed to find an agent in the fall of 2015. You are invited to join her on this journey of a writer. To experience her trials, successes and stumbles along the way. Perhaps it will help you find your brave, and if writing is in your soul - to join her. Share your stories and maybe together we will unravel some of the complexities of this life. To heal, hope and learn what we can from one another, in the time we have. To listen and hear one another's stories. Breathe Deep, Think Peace Patty
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2 Responses to The Art of Forgiveness

  1. Patty, i love this! At a recent retreat for church, we talked about forgiveness and what to do. My thoughts on this mirror yours in every way. I wish so many others thought this way!

    • Patty Young says:

      Hello Paula! Please forgive me for not responding in a more timely manner. Lately I feel like I’m running out of daylight faster than usual! Thank you so much for your kind words. You do not know how much I needed to hear them today. The topic of forgiveness is a tough one. Its taken me years to figure it out, and its especially hurtful when it comes from someone who means so much to you. I send you hugs! Patty

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