Who is forgiveness for?

 

I was driving along the dual carriageway on my way home from work and I hadn’t had a great day. I wasn’t in the best of moods and the mannerisms of some of the drivers around me weren’t helping.

 

Seriously, I thought, what’s the rush? Do you really have to risk my life so you can get home to your TV a few minutes earlier?

 

Then came the truck!

 

A full length 40ft truck driving inches from the back of my car.  As we approached the junction he moved into the fast lane and over took me, significantly exceeding the speed limit. Then as we crossed the junction he moved back into the slow lane whilst I was still alongside him nearly driving me off the road in the process.

 

I was furious!!

 

I belted my horn at him and got the usual hand jesters in return, but I had it all on my dashcam!

 

I got home, stormed upstairs and downloaded the footage. I found an email address for his company, and was about to send the incriminating evidence to his boss….. when I stopped.

 

Where was this going?  What would happen next?

 


Grudges

 

We’ve all held grudges from time to time, against people who we believed have wronged us but where does it really lead?  What are the outcomes of this behaviour?

 

For the person we hold the grudge against it can go one of two ways:

 

If they are aware we’re holding a grudge against them then it can be damaging.  Like if it was a family member, it could cause them distress and upset.

 

What if it was a lorry driver getting fired for his behaviour because that one day when things weren’t going well, he succumbed to his human flaws and behaved in an unhelpful way?  This is something we all do. I’m as guilty as the next person for being human.  Is this really what I want?

 

Alternatively, the person we are holding the grudge against may be completely unaware and it could have no impact on them whatsoever.

 

What about everyone else around us?

 

What is the impact on them as we grumble, moan, give off negativity, and give so much of our energy to the inevitable follow up?

 

What about the impact on us?

 

What does remaining in that space of negativity do for our mood, our energy?

 

On closer inspection two things become clear.  It harms everyone, and it harms us most of all.

 


Forgiveness is for us

 

We’ve all heard about the good that can come from forgiving since we were young, but what we miss is that forgiving others benefits us more than them.

 

When you choose to forgive others, the person who benefits most from that decision is you. Sure, the person you are forgiving may also benefit if they were aware, as will those around you, but the main benefactor is you.

 

In each moment, we get to choose whether to bring negative or positive energy into the world.  It is the ultimate responsibility that comes with our unique ability to create.

 

What good could come from me pursuing this lorry driver? Could it teach him a lesson?  Could this lessen the risk to others?  Maybe, I did wonder about this one, but ultimately I came to the conclusion that he probably already knew his actions weren’t appropriate.

 

A more likely scenario is that a trail of events would follow that would bring only negative experiences to him, to me whenever I revisited the event in the following correspondence, and to anyone else involved, ending in a spiral of negativity as I had seen so often before.

 

So I deleted the email, and the video, and got on with my life instead.

 


Forgiveness is for you

 

When it comes to forgiving others the greatest benefit of that process is for us.  Next time you’re choosing whether to hold a grudge, or forgive the person and move on, remember that the key benefactor of your act of forgiveness is you.  It will release a weight from your shoulders that would otherwise have held you down and it will leave you free to enjoy your day.

 

The world feels a lot lighter when you don’t have a grudge controlling your thoughts and through them your feelings.

 

So who do you need to forgive today, so you can enjoy tomorrow?

 

 

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