This I Believe

Brian - Libertyville, Illinois
Entered on May 2, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: forgiveness
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This I Believe Essay


Everyone has good and bad days, weeks, months, and even years. Sometimes, just having a bad second can change someone’s entire path in life. Sometimes, we put ourselves in positions that we shouldn’t be in, and sometimes others put us in those positions. I know that mistakes happen, emotions can be hard to control, and bad choices can be made. I know that people are very capable of hurting one another, and doing things without thinking them through. These are just the facts of life, and the best way for me to cope with them is through the act of forgiveness.

I believe in forgiveness. I know that the ability to forgive is not something you are born with, or just happen to wake up with one day. It is a gift, which can only be given by people who were willing to forgive you for mistakes you made when you may have chosen to hurt someone. The only way to learn forgiveness is by receiving forgiveness from others. People must be shown compassion, understanding, and humility, all wrapped into one, in order to learn forgiveness.

It is evident to me that all actions have consequences. Many of us, including myself, will or already have experienced acts of betrayal or broken trust, as well as some form of infidelity or unfortunate coincidences. We’ve all at some point heard things we did not want to hear, and said things we should not have said. Significant others, family members, friends, people we may work with and sometimes people we have never met before inflict these pains on us. But at the same time, sometimes we inflict those pains on all those people. The fact is, these things are real and they will happen to the best of us.

Many people don’t know how to react to such misfortunes in life. Some choose to hold on to them in order to give themselves a feeling of comfort in protection. To most, it generally seems easier to do this, instead of digging down, and forgiving. In my mind, the wall put up through the prison of protection creates bars of hate, and only causes future suffering. This build up of hate causes discomfort, and prevents us from being ourselves, and accomplishing our goals.

Through my 24 years of life, I have learned that life is a process, a process of learning and developing through experience. The things learned through experiences can be translated into growth. Growth is a necessary ingredient in life, seeing that we all do it from the day we are born. More importantly, we must continue growing throughout our lives. Forgiveness means that you already know compassion and understanding, amongst many other qualities. It means you’re strong enough and smart enough to understand and move on. Holding onto to bad times restricts growth. Forgiveness, promises it.