Forgiveness: The Difference Between Thriving and Surviving
Last evening, I received a call from a friend, complaining that she felt stuck in life. My friend is intelligent, educated, well-spoken and very well traveled. She’s been out of work for 3 years, and has had plenty of time, opportunity, and resources to pursue any direction she wants. Not to mention a supportive mate, encouraging and cheering her in whatever path she chooses. But instead of pursing something she’s passionate about, she has become complacent, full of excuses, and settled into a life of mediocrity. She’s bummed about the weight she’s picked up, but while dissatisfied with her body image, lacks any motivation to do anything about it. The worse part is she actually blames her husband, accusing him of being an enabler, because he’s content with her being happy and doesn’t pressure her to do anything.
We spoke at length, and during our conversation she revealed that she was very angry with her mother. Although she had a relationship with, and always knew her mother, she had been raised by loving family members who could provide a life for her that her mother was unable to. She admitted that her childhood had been a good one and says she understands her mother was not in a position to provide for her emotionally or financially, nonetheless, at 54 years old, she remains bitter, resentful and angry.
As we spoke, I was reminded of one of the contributing women in 40+ and Fabulous. A successful Grants Coordinator and Doctoral student, Yolanda tells of being raised by a father, who was unfaithful to her mother, and had open affairs that everyone in their small town knew about. “On Fridays my daddy would come home from work, pack a bag … and turn to us and say, ‘I’ll see you later.’ We wouldn’t see daddy again until Sunday evening.” To get away from the humiliation, Yolanda attended college out of state and has gone on to create a life for herself where she is vibrant, happy, thriving, goal-oriented and self-fulfilled. In fact, Yolanda says she has accomplished more than she ever imagined possible.
The difference between these two women – FORGIVENESS!
Yolanda says it took some time, but she was finally able to erase the pain and anger she had towards her dad. “Forgiveness and making a conscious decision to let go of the pain and the hurt, allows you to be happier and have more successful relationships. You are free now to move forward and do the things in your life that you always wanted to do.”
Forgiveness is critical and mandatory in your ability to move forward and live a happy and productive life. When you don’t forgive, the person who hurt you has ongoing power over you. In essence, you’re in bondage and they get to enjoy a life of freedom. The good news is that we do not have to live with bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. You deserve to live a life where you’re thriving, and not just surviving. So do yourself a favor—and forgive.