I believe in the power to forgive others so you can move on with your own life.
I was thirteen when I thought that my life was worthless. I suffered from minor depression all because of a leg surgery. School and my friends overwhelmed me. Normally a girl turns to her friends for support, but, at the time I needed them most, my friends were no where to be seen. My leg was so swollen from surgery that I had to sit in a classroom all by myself to keep it elevated, and my friends didn’t even notice. When I was trying to open a door on crutches one of my friends walked right past me and didn’t even try to help. I didn’t expect them to dote on me but I expected them to act as if they cared. I didn’t know how to handle feelings of isolation, so I completely shut myself off from my friends and never really trusted them like I had before.
I blamed my friends for not being good enough because they weren’t there when I needed them. I felt so lost that I would come home from school sobbing. My mom would tell me everyday, “I know this is hard but things will work out for the best.” It took me two years to realize that what she said was true.
I held a grudge against my friends because I felt they abandoned me. Oddly enough the same feeling of abandonment came back freshman year and again I blamed them. I don’t know what I did, and I still don’t, but my friends stopped talking to me. After a few weeks I finally asked my “best friend” what I had done wrong because I know that sometimes I can be difficult to be around and she told me that she was just in a bad mood. I thought that we had solved things but we didn’t talk after that for another year and a half. I left and found a different set of friends. Although they abandoned me, it was I who felt self-conscious around my friends because I held so much against them.
I was hurt by them, but I was the one who made things awkward because I wouldn’t talk to them. I ignored them and wouldn’t be friendly when they were nearby. I was incapable of forgiveness. I was holding myself back because I couldn’t let go of this grudge.
Even when I found new friends who didn’t make me cry, I still held onto that grudge with those friends that made it difficult for me to trust people completely.
It took me years to realize that forgiving them is much easier than making myself hate them. I finally found it in myself to forgive them and I’ve been able to move on. My mom was right when she told me, “Everything happens for a reason.” Learning to forgive people who hurt me and not dwell on the past has helped me to accept people as they are and not as I expect them to be.
By forgiving them, I was able to be more trusting of people without doubt because I had forgiven the people who I felt betrayed me.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.